The American Heart Association is one of the non-profit's I am super passionate about! I have had the opportunity to volunteer and partner with them for several events around the Birmingham area. AHA does really awesome work and has made great strides bringing awareness to heart health and overall wellness. Today is AHA Go Red for Women, which is a campaign to bring awareness specifically to women's heart health. I sat down with Danya Segrest, Director of Development for the Birmingham Heart Ball, to learn more about this campaign and the work they are doing!
What is the American Heart Association Go Red for Women day all about?
National Wear Red Day is the American Heart Association’s special day to bring attention to the number one killer of women – heart disease. This is the day we encourage everyone to wear red, show their support, know their cardiovascular risk, and take action to live longer, healthier lives.
Why is the focus on women?
Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds. Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. That’s why this year we are asking that you wear red on National Wear Red Day and Donate to Go Red For Woman. By doing so you help support educational programs to increase women’s awareness and critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health. Here are some general stats about heart disease in women:
- An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases.
- 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.
- Women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men.
- Fewer women than men survive their first heart attack.
- The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood – even by some physicians.
- Sweating. Pressure. Nausea. Jaw pain. Believe it or not, these are all symptoms of a heart attack in women. They are also symptoms that women often brush off as the flu, stress or simply feeling under the weather—which could put their lives in jeopardy.
Symptoms of a heart attack:
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
- As with men, the most common heart attack symptom in women is chest pain or discomfort. But it’s important to note that women are more likely to experience the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
How has "going red" helped AHA spread awareness?
On National Wear Red Day, people start to see others wearing red, buildings going red, social media pages filled with red pictures and posts – it brings attention to a subject that isn’t commonly talked about – heart disease risk in women. 1 in 3 women are affected by heart disease, and yet 80% of all heart disease is preventable. Because it helps us educate more women to know their risk, learn their numbers, and to help build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease, National Wear Red Day has the ability to save lives. That’s why we ask people to wear red today so we can jumpstart a conversation about heart health.
Where can we learn more?