Go Red for Women

Why You Need To Go Red Right Now

January 30, 2013 at 8:51 am , by

Can a color make a difference? When I say the word “pink,” I know what pops into your mind: breast cancer. The pink-washing of October has been phenomenally successful at making everyone aware of breast cancer—and comfortable talking about this once-verboten subject. Millions of donation dollars have led to advances in detection and treatment. The next step, we hope, is prevention and a cure.

Now here’s why you need to go red. Because far more women die every year of cardiovascular disease than they do of breast cancer—in fact, 10 times more. CVD is still the number 1 killer of women. And way too many of us are still in denial. I get furious when I hear stories of women who downplay their symptoms and don’t call 911 when they could be having a heart attack. We need to change this!

Ten years ago, the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute created National Wear Red Day to raise awareness and help spread the word about how women can reduce their risks of heart disease. It’s working—but not enough. We’re asking you to get on board.

Make sure you know the symptoms of a heart attack and what you should do. Memorize these!

Wear red this Friday, February 1, to show you mean business. Get your friends, family, work colleagues and even your pets to do it, too. Then share your photos here.

Here’s what else you can do. Encourage your friends by using this image as your Facebook profile shot.

Make a donation by shopping for the cause here.

See you in red this Friday—let’s help make a difference!

Photo copyright Zoom Team, shutterstock.com


Worth Celebrating: Your Heart!

February 9, 2012 at 11:24 am , by

When I think of February, I think of red—lots of it. Not because of all the cheesy (but fun) Valentine’s Day stuff, but because it’s American Heart Month. February doesn’t really start until that first Friday when we celebrate National Wear Red Day.

Did you participate last week? (We did! That’s us, the @lhjHealthLadies on Twitter, above.) This year, Go Red for Women is hosting a challenge on its Facebook page to spotlight its most spirited supporters. All you have to do is submit a photo of you and your coworkers or friends (or pet!) wearing red. Then, until February 23 people can vote via “Likes” on their faves. Winners will be announced February 25.

Here at the Journal we start gearing up for February way in advance, when we plan our heart health coverage for the magazine. Yes, some of it can be glamorous—like the beautiful photos we shot of a model hooked up to an EKG (below) for this year’s story. But the real reason we devote pages to cholesterol, blood pressure and the myths and realities of heart disease is that unfortunately, it is still the number one killer of American women. And women between the ages of 35 to 54 appear to be dying from it at an increasing rate, despite decreasing rates among other groups. This year, we also learned that nearly half of women say they wouldn’t call 911 immediately if they thought they were having a heart attack. That’s crazy! Women are also less likely to be diagnosed correctly, making them less likely to receive life-saving therapy right away.

All of this is why we sent one of our over-stressed writers with all the wrong risk factors to see a cardiologist and report back. And why we decided to interview a heart attack survivor turned blogger about why doctors dismissed her symptoms at first. Sometimes personal stories say it even better than statistics.

But that doesn’t mean stats aren’t useful in their own way. Yesterday, I went to a briefing hosted by the Mayo Clinic, The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and WomenHeart where I picked up a few telling numbers:

  • 1 in 2 women will die of heart disease or stroke, versus 1 in 25 who will die of breast cancer.
  • 8 million: the number of American women with a history of heart attack or angina.
  • Do you smoke? Besides the fact that 30 percent of heart disease deaths are caused by smoking, your risk of heart disease is 25 percent higher than a male smoker’s. (And social smoking counts—you don’t have to smoke a pack a day, or even a pack a month, to hurt your heart.)
  • 90 percent of women have at least one risk factor.

But the most important number is this one: 80 percent of heart disease cases are preventable. There are lots of things you can do to keep your heart healthy, and the sooner you start the better. Check out our resources page if you need a little direction.

Happy American Heart Month from the LHJ Health Ladies!

Lady in Red: A Symbol of Hope

September 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm , by

Last night our new LHJ editorial intern Carisa McLaughlin headed downtown to meet some ladies in red gathered to empower women to put their health first. Here’s her report:

The American Heart Association’s campaign Go Red For Women, along with actress Elizabeth Banks, created a film entitled Just a Little Heart Attack in order to warn women that heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of women.

At the premiere event, there were six courageous women who spoke about their firsthand experiences with heart disease. They varied in age and race and all had unique and touching anecdotes to share. I couldn’t believe one woman’s story. Only 40 years old, she was in the middle of what she said was the best date she’d had in a long time when she thought she was having first-date jitters. Turned out, though, she was actually having a stroke! Yes, it happens. All the special guests there, including Elizabeth Banks (who has a family history of heart disease), expressed how they’ve made it their mission to share what they’ve learned about heart disease with at least five other women. Pass it on!

In the short film directed by and starring Banks, we get a glimpse of a mother’s typical morning ritual—getting ready for work while also rounding up her kids for school and helping out her husband. But the day quickly turns sour as she’s faced with a frightening situation. You can watch Banks’ surprisingly funny film below. But remember that heart disease is no joke.

Learn to Save a Life in 60 Seconds

June 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm , by

Would you know what to do if someone near you collapsed? You’d probably know to call 911, but would you be able to step in and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR?

It may seem like something that would never happen to you, but it’s surprisingly common. In fact, every year more than 300,000 people go into sudden cardiac arrest when they’re not in a hospital. Most of the time it happens at home, and many times, the person has shown no signs of heart disease beforehand. Performing CPR immediately can double or even triple a person’s chance of survival. Yet 70 percent of bystanders don’t act because they don’t know CPR or are hesitant to do mouth-to-mouth on a stranger, according to the American Heart Association.

The good news: recent studies show that in most cases the mouth-to-mouth part isn’t necessary for the patient to survive till emergency help arrives. And that makes it is so much easier to learn! It’s called hands-only CPR, meaning you only do chest compressions, and you can learn it by watching a 60-second teaching video.

To celebrate CPR week, Go Red For Women is featuring the video here. Take a minute to learn today, and be ready to help when someone’s heart stops. Share this with your family and friends—kids can learn it too. Your new skills could save a life.

Thank A Mom, Help Women’s Hearts

May 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm , by

AHA-momIn case you haven’t been tipped off at the supermarket, the drugstore, or your local Hallmark retailer in the past few days—Mother’s Day is Sunday. Quick, to the card aisle! And also, send an e-card! While I’m a huge advocate of paper cards with handwritten notes in them for every occasion, I love this promotion from the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women and Macy’s. For every e-card sent, Macy’s will donate $5 to Go Red For Women, one of our favorite women’s health advocacy organizations.

All you have to do is go to the “Thank A Mom” Facebook page, select the Go Red For Women movement (they’re one of five participating organizations), and then create your card. You can use one of the preloaded designs or upload your own, and write a personal note. If your mom is super cool like my mom and is on Facebook, you can post it directly to her wall. Or you can just enter her e-mail address. You can send up to 10 cards a day, so be sure to send one to all your friends and relatives who are moms, too!

Happy Mother’s Day from the LHJ Health Ladies!