By: Louise Oleson, Managing
The annual “Wear Red for Women” day is coming tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 2 and that’s no “Groundhog Day” joke, it’s serious business. The movement began to bring awareness to the fact that women need to be concerned about their heart’s health. Once thought to be more of a man’s disease, health providers have since learned that women need to be as concerned about their hearts as men.
Judy Estenson who works in Cardiac Rehab at CHI St. Alexius Health Devils Lake Hospital will be wearing red tomorrow and not just because it is her favorite color to wear. She told the Journal that attitudes have changed and she believes in the 14 years since this movement began, the message has been heard loud and clear.
“Women lead just as stressful lives as men and they know how important it is to know their numbers,” Estenson said. “We’re not all that different.” The numbers she referred to are cholesterol numbers and blood pressure numbers. Both are factors in developing cardiac disease. “It’s never too late,” she continued. “You can make a change and decide to live a healthier lifestyle,” Estenson added. Working in cardiac rehab she sees it all the time.
The following information comes from research done on the Internet through the American Heart Association (AHA) about Go Red for Women:
About Go Red For Women
What is Go Red For Women?
In 2004, the American Heart Association (AHA) faced a challenge. Cardiovascular disease claimed the lives of nearly 500,000 American women each year, yet women were not paying attention. In fact, many even dismissed it as an older man’s disease. To dispel the myths and raise awareness of heart disease & stroke as the number one killer of women, the American Heart Association created Go Red For Women, a passionate, emotional, social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health.
What is the goal of Go Red For Women?
Go Red For Women encourages awareness of the issue of women and heart disease, and also action to save more lives. The movement harnesses the energy, passion and power women have to band together and collectively wipe out heart disease. It challenges them to know their risk for heart disease and take action to reduce their personal risk. It also gives them the tools they need to lead a heart healthy life.
In 2010, the AHA set a strategic goal of reducing death and disability from cardiovascular disease and strokes by 20 percent while improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent by the year 2020.
Why is the red dress the symbol of women and heart disease?
In 2003, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the AHA and other organizations committed to women’s health joined together to raise awareness of women and heart disease. The NHLBI introduced the red dress as a national symbol for women and heart disease awareness and the AHA adopted this symbol to create synergy among all organizations committed to fighting this cause.
By working together to advance this important cause, the AHA, NHLBI and other women’s health groups will have a greater impact than any one group could have alone.
Why do Go Red For Women and other red dress campaigns target women instead of men and women?
In the past, heart disease and heart attack have been predominantly associated with men. Historically, men have been the subjects of the research done to understand heart disease and stroke, which has been the basis for treatment guidelines and programs. This led to an oversimplified, distorted view of heart disease and risk, which has worked to the detriment of women.
Because women have been largely ignored as a specific group, their awareness of their risk of this often-preventable disease has suffered. Only 55 percent of women realize heart disease is their No. 1 killer and less than half know what are considered healthy levels for cardiovascular risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol. The Go Red For Women movement works to make sure women know they are at risk so they can take action to protect their health.
How does the AHA use funds raised from Go Red For Women activities?
The AHA uses all revenues from local and National Go Red For Women activities to support awareness, research, education and community programs to benefit women.
These funds allow us to help women by offering educational programs, advancing women’s understanding about their risk for heart disease and providing tools and motivation to help women reduce their risk to protect their health. For example, the Go Red Heart CheckUp has engaged more than 2 million women to learn their risk of heart disease.
Based on our own research, a woman who Goes Red:
- follows an exercise routine
- eats healthier diet
- visits her doctor for important tests
- and influences others by talking about heart health.
Funds raised by Go Red For Women activities also support research to discover scientific knowledge about heart health. We turn this science into materials and tools that healthcare providers and decision- makers can use to help women. Scientific guidelines on women and healthcare providers receive the most up-to-date strategies and treatments tailored to a woman’s individual risk. Toolkits, pocket versions of guidelines for women, and special reports, and continuing medical education give healthcare providers the tools to ensure that women are being treated according to the guidelines. More than 200,000 healthcare provider offices have received Go Red For Women educational tools to use with patients.
We value the trust placed in us by our donors, supporters and general public. We make the association’s finance as transparent as possible. In fact, the AHA has consistently met the high standards of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise giving Alliance (WGA), the premier organization for evaluating charitable organizations.
How do corporate sponsorships help support Go Red For Women?
Financial support from corporations helps fund the AHA programs and initiatives to advance the mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The AHA is always seeking ways to increase communication with the public and to create tools and resources to help them manage and prevent heart disease.
Sponsorship dollars allow us to improve our educational resources like our website and other materials in order to deliver the information in a way that men, women and children find useful. All corporate relationships must comply with the association’s corporate relations policies and receive approval from two committees representing executive staff and volunteers. Compliance is required in areas such as sponsors’ commercial messages, advertising and brand messages so that no endorsement of a company product is implied.
Funds donated to Go Red For Women have impacted women across the nation.
More than 2 million women have learned their personal risk of developing heart disease by taking the Go Red Heart CheckUp
More than 200,000 healthcare provider offices have received critical patient information on women and heart disease
More than 900,000 women have joined the fight.
Women who join Go Red For Women receive important information that allows them to take action to improve their health.
Women involved in Go Red For Women eat a healthy diet.
Go Red women are more likely to follow their doctors’ advice – from losing weight to taking medications.
91 percent of women involved in Go Red For Women visited their doctor in the last 12 months (compared to 73 percent of all U.S. women).
64 percent follow a regular exercise routine.
84 percent have talked to friends about their heart health.
90 percent have had their blood pressure checked in the last year.
75 percent have had their cholesterol checked in the last year.
What We Do:
To improve the lives of all Americans, we provide public health education in a variety of ways. We’re the nation’s leader in CPR education training. We help people understand the importance of healthy lifestyle choices. We provide science-based treatment guidelines to healthcare professionals to help them provide quality care to their patients. We educate lawmakers, policymakers and the public as we advocate for changes to protect and improve the health of our communities.
Editor - Devils Lake Journal