By Audrey Landers
It’s a long-standing myth that cardiovascular disease is an illness affecting only old men. In reality, approximately one in four women will die from heart disease. To combat this myth and spread awareness of heart health in women, the American Heart Association (AHA) started the “Go Red For Women” campaign in 2004. Wear Red Day takes place on the first Friday in February, meaning that this year it will take place on February 2, 2018. Here’s what you can do to participate in the campaign:
Raise Awareness in Your Practice
Physicians should already know the symptoms of a heart attack, but that doesn’t mean your patients will. Teach your at-risk female patients what they may experience when having a heart attack. It’s important that they know the typical “Hollywood Heart Attack” they see on TV may not be what they experience. While both men and women can experience the tell-tale chest pains, women are slightly more likely to experience jaw pain, nausea and shortness of breath. In fact, more than 70% of women reported having flu-like symptoms in the weeks leading up to a heart attack presenting with chest pain.
Help your patients create a plan for what to do if they have a heart attack. You can include the signs of a heart attack, instructions for what to do, and the address and phone numbers of nearby hospitals with heart surgery centers, as well as any specialists you recommend. By educating your patients, you are putting them in the best possible position to survive.
The AHA uses funds raised from Go Red for Women activities to support awareness, research and education programs. Since 2004, more than $60 million has been raised. There are a few different ways you can contribute to this growing number, the first being through a donation to the Go Red For Women fund. You can give either a one-time donation or a monthly gift. You can also create a FUNraiser for larger donations. If you prefer to shop instead of donate, AHA has plenty of Go Red merchandise, from apparel to office supplies.
Show Your Support
The most obvious way to support Go Red For Women is to, well, wear red on Wear Red Day. You can purchase pins and shirts at AHA’s store, wear your own clothes or even buy something new (Macy’s is a sponsor this year). While you and your office are decked out in red, be sure to post a picture to you social media accounts and use the hashtags #goredforwomen and #WearRedDay!