• What’s National Wear Red Day?

a group of red heart balloons with the words 'National Wear Red Day'

National Wear Red Day is an annual event held each first Friday of February, dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease in women. It's the leading cause of death among women in the U.S. That's why it's crucial for women to take charge and be proactive in their heart health.

Women with heart disease more often have delayed or missed misdiagnoses biases, insufficient research, and symptoms and risk factors that are different than men.

Dr. Sharonne N. Hayes, Mayo Clinic cardiologist and founder of the Mayo Clinic Women's Heart Clinic.

"There are risk factors for cardiovascular disease that are unique to women, are more prominent in women or manifest differently in women compared to men. One specifically unique to women is giving childbirth. Think of it as the first cardiac stress test, and when a woman 'fails' it by developing high blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy, it signals she is at increased risk of future heart problems."

Dr. Sharonne N. Hayes, Mayo Clinic cardiologist and founder of the Mayo Clinic Women's Heart Clinic.

Women may also experience heart attacks differently from men. While the most common symptom of a heart attack for both men and women is chest pain, women compared to men more often experience other symptoms, including fatigue, nausea and shortness of breath. 

While you can't change genetics, you can change some of your behaviors and help reduce your risks of heart disease and improve your heart health.

Maintain a healthy diet.

  • Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, and low in saturated and trans fats.

Exercise regularly.

  • Brisk walking, jogging, cycling or other moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week can help lower your blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.

Don't smoke.

  • Smoking is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and other health issues.

Get more sleep.

  • Sleep plays a vital role in your overall health. Aim for 7-9 hours each night.

Control your cholesterol.

  • Eating a healthy, low-salt diet can help control cholesterol levels. High cholesterol can reduce blood flow through your arteries, which can cause further health complications. Medications can be very effective in helping lower cholesterol as well.

Manage your blood sugar.

  • Diabetes is a risk factor for myocardial infarction or heart attack. By managing your blood sugar, you reduce your risk factor for diabetes, thus, for cardiovascular issues.

Manage your blood pressure.

  • High blood pressure means your heart has to work harder to pump blood through your arteries. Maintaining a healthy weight, limiting salt intake and following healthy lifestyle habits can maintain healthy blood pressure levels, but blood pressure is easy to measure, so know your numbers in case you need medication to help treat high blood pressure.

Regular checkups and screenings.

  • Women should get regular checkups with their health care team to monitor their health and detect potential risk factors early. Screening may include high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. Also, women should talk with their health care team about their personal and family history of heart disease and other risk factors they may have.

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