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National Wear Red Day: Why it Matters and How to Get Involved

As the chill of January dissolves into the promise of February, a surge of red sweeps the nation.  Celebrated on February's first Friday, it's not just any day but the annual National Wear Red Day. This day isn't solely about donning a crimson sweater or scarlet socks - it's about understanding the far-reaching implications of heart disease.

Wearing red on this day is more than a sartorial statement - it affirms one's support for those wrestling with the debilitating disease. It's also a commitment to champion preventative measures, encourage early diagnosis, and advocate for effective control strategies to halt this growing epidemic.

National Wear Red Day emphasizes the importance of regular health check-ups, conscious lifestyle choices, and the vital role of early detection in curbing heart disease.

Slipping into that red attire, thus, isn't about paying lip service to a cause; it's about being a part of a potentially life-saving mission - an opportunity to collectively broaden our understanding of heart disease and make a palpable difference within our communities.

Featured in: January - Awareness Months, Days & Observances.

National Wear Red Day History and Background

National wear red day promo
Image from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: More here.

In 2003, National Wear Red Day was born. It arose as a symbol of hope when heart disease was casting a dark shadow over the lives of American women. 

The American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, deeply concerned by the startling statistic of nearly half a million women dying annually from heart disease, joined forces to bring this initiative to life.

Why red? It's a color that demands attention. A vivid, arresting hue was picked to elevate awareness of women’s heart disease.

The powerful campaign found its rhythm on the first Friday of every February, coinciding with American Heart Month. Millions adopted the color red as a loud and proud show of solidarity.

Feeling the pulse of success, the American Heart Association expanded the national campaign in 2004 to create the Go Red For Women movement. Women now had access to a wealth of resources and knowledge about heart disease. 

High-profile advocates were just a little behind. Enter First Lady Michelle Obama in 2010 with her Heart Truth campaign featuring the red dress as a national symbol and Star Jones, a heart disease survivor who lent her celebrity status to the cause. 

Their passionate backing turned up the volume of the campaign. By 2013, a sweeping positive change was evident, with almost 90% of the participating women embracing at least one healthier lifestyle choice to help prevent cardiovascular disease2.

Heart Disease And Its Challenges

National Wear Red Day is about more than sporting your favorite crimson sweater. It's a call to action for heart disease awareness. Can you believe it's the top health-related killer of women in the U.S., claiming a heartbreaking one in three yearly? Yet, only a little over half are aware of this lurking threat.

Clearing this health hurdle is trickier than you'd think. Why? Heart disease doesn't always appear with glaring signs, especially in women. Picture a heart attack, and you might think of someone clutching their chest in agony. But when it comes to women, the signs could be as subtle as feeling breathless, a little nauseous, or even a nagging backache. 

Similarly, heart disease doesn’t play fair, and lower-income and marginalized communities bear a heavier burden. Almost half of African American women over 20 are grappling with some form of heart disease. These disparities yank back the curtain on a sobering truth. We need heart health strategies as diverse as the women they are meant to protect1.

So, what's contributing to these stark numbers? A combination of high blood pressure, high cholesterol (which can reduce blood flow), and smoking are key culprits. Factors like diabetes, obesity, poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, and excessive alcohol consumption are also contributors.

We can fight back against heart disease. All it requires is a commitment to embrace a healthier lifestyle. Think healthy diet and regular exercise.

Efforts and Initiatives

Thanks to The American Heart Association (AHA), the sight of red on National Wear Red Day is a testament to women across the nation, brave in their stand against heart disease.

Since 2004, Macy's Wear Red Sale has been an annual affair, an innovative nod to the AHA's mission. Their stores become fundraising powerhouses for three weeks, collecting millions for heart health research and education.

Across the pond, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and the World Heart Federation (WHF) wave their red flags high. The BHF is pumping funds into research for heart and circulatory diseases. The WHF wants to shed light on the fight against the world's deadliest disease. 

On a more local level, National Wear Red Day sparks health fairs, educational seminars, and fitness classes. It's a day when the message of heart health echoes in every corner of the community.

How to Get Involved and Support National Wear Red Day

Person wearing red
Photo by Anna Shvets.

Your involvement in National Wear Red Day can begin with something as simple as choosing a fiery red tie or a garnet-hued dress from your wardrobe. Yet, what if you want to do more? Fear not; there are plenty of ways to make a difference.

Imagine this: You, dressed in vibrant rouge, capturing a selfie and sharing it on social media. It sounds simple. Yet, this straightforward act can spark a conversation about heart disease, stroke risks, raise awareness and amplify its impact. 

But the day's significance transcends the color red - it's about understanding the reason behind the color.

Keeping oneself informed is key to lending a voice to the cause. Try to delve into the intricacies of heart disease, from its risk factors to prevention strategies. You can turn to reliable online resources such as health seminars. Furthermore, you can choose to undertake practical actions such as doing a course to learn CPR and knowing how to spot the signs of cardiac arrest, such as chest pain and breathlessness. 

Furthermore, you can consider fundraising or volunteering. Connect with health organizations nearby and discover how you can lend a hand. They might be on the lookout for volunteers for an event or need a leader for a new project. 

Fundraising is another path you could take. Funds raised can all make a difference to heart disease research or help support those grappling with the condition. 

Conclusion

Draping oneself in red on National Wear Red Day isn't just a bold fashion choice. It's a clear declaration against heart disease, particularly among women - a silent yet rampant adversary. 

But why stop at just one day? Instead, we must channel that awareness into action throughout the year. That means routine check-ups, healthier lifestyle decisions, and a steadfast dedication to educating ourselves and others. 

Let's not allow heart health to be a once-a-year concern. Don't just wear red to show solidarity; take it a step further. Make a conscious commitment to prioritizing heart health today and every day.

National Wear Red Day FAQs

1. What is National Wear Red Day?

National Wear Red Day is an annual event held on the first Friday in February to raise awareness about heart disease in women. It encourages individuals to wear red clothing and accessories to support the cause.

2. Why is it important to raise awareness about heart disease in women?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women worldwide, yet it is often underdiagnosed and undertreated. Raising awareness helps educate women about the risks, symptoms, and prevention of heart disease, empowering them to take control of their heart health.

3. How can I participate in National Wear Red Day?

Participating in National Wear Red Day is simple. Just wear red clothing or accessories on the designated day to show your support. You can also encourage others to join by sharing information on social media or hosting events to raise awareness.

4. Are there any specific organizations associated with National Wear Red Day?

National Wear Red Day is primarily associated with the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign. This campaign empowers women to take charge of their heart health and provides resources and support for heart disease prevention and treatment.

5. Can men participate in National Wear Red Day?

Absolutely! While National Wear Red Day focuses on raising awareness about heart disease in women, men are also encouraged to participate. Heart disease affects both genders; wearing red can show solidarity and help spread awareness.

1

Mehta, L. S., Watson, K. E., Barac, A., Beckie, T. M., Bittner, V., Cruz-Flores, S., ... & Kondapalli, L. (2018). Cardiovascular Disease and Breast Cancer: Where These Entities Intersect: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation, 137(8), e30-e66.

2

Mosca, L., Mochari-Greenberger, H., Dolor, R. J., Newby, L. K., & Robb, K. J. (2010). Twelve-year follow-up of American women's awareness of cardiovascular disease risk and barriers to heart healthCirculation. Cardiovascular quality and outcomes3(2), 120–127.

Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash
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