For 50 years, the American Heart
Association (AHA) has worked diligently to fight against
cardiovascular disease--especially cardiovascular disease among
women. This work has contributed to five decades of increased
awareness, education, and fundraising.
During this time,
we've also seen a significant decrease in deaths from heart
disease. In 1960, there were about 924,000 deaths from all
cardiovascular disease. By 2010, that number had dropped to
below 784,000. The decline is great news. But the fact that during
this time period, the country saw a 72 percent increase in
population (that's an influx of 129 million people), means that the
decline is even more impressive.
According to Nancy Brown, AHA CEO, there are many reasons for
the decline. Technology, enhanced medications, better diagnostic
methods, greater information about the benefits of healthy diets
and exercise, and the anti-smoking movement all play a role in the
lower number of deaths from heart disease. But more than those
elements, clinical research has played a major role in helping to
decrease deaths from heart disease.
Brown asserts that much of the progress that has been made
toward fighting heart disease stems from doctors and researchers
studying how to treat and prevent cardiovascular diseases. The
progress over the past 50 years is immense, but there's still work
to be done.
Some of the most important clinical research in the area of
heart disease has been research that focuses on women. Research has
revealed thatheart disease killed more women each year than all
forms of cancer combined. And yes, that includes breast cancer.
Pink ribbon campaigns
have worked wonders to increase awareness and education about
breast cancer. Taking a page from that book, the AHA in 2003
established National Wear Red Day® to bring attention to
heart disease in women. Now, on the first Friday of February, the
AHA encourages "everyone to
wear red, raise their voices, know their cardiovascular risk, and
take action to live longer, healthier lives."
National Wear Red Day has also contributed to significant
strides in the fight against heart disease. According to the AHA,
since the campaign launched, 34 percent fewer women now die from
heart disease, and awareness that heart disease is the number 1
killer of women is up 23 percent. But there's still a lot of work
to do. According to the Cleveland Clinic, many Americans are still
unclear regarding the facts of heart disease.
So this Friday, wear your red proudly and take control of your
cardiovascular health! And if you're still a little foggy on the
facts, check out this infographic from the Cleveland Clinic.