Friday is National Wear Red Day, a day set aside to "take women's
health to heart by wearing red to show support" in raising
awareness of the dangers of heart disease among women.
celebrated beauty Daryl Hannah is the national spokeswoman for the
campaign, we, too, can don the vibrant color as a sign of solidarity
with the women facing this dreaded disease.
is important to the health of women in south Mississippi because
of the many misconceptions nationwide that women have about heart
disease," said Shawn Lea, director of communications for the
Mississippi Hospital Association. "The perception is that heart
disease is a man's disease. The fact is that heart disease and stroke
are the No. 1 and No. 3 killers, respectively, of women. And in
Mississippi, where we have one of the highest incidences of heart
disease in the country, it is imperative that women learn about
heart disease and take positive actions to reduce their risks."
one-third of women know that heart disease is their biggest health
threat, notes the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part
of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services.
As part of
an effort to inform women of their risks, the group sponsors a national
awareness campaign, "The Heart Truth," in a partnership
with the American Heart Association; Office on Women's Health within
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; WomenHeart: the
National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease; and other organizations
committed to the health and well-being of women.
Red Day" is but one of the many parts of the campaign, which
has been joined by Baptist Health Systems, the Mississippi State
Medical Association, the Mississippi Nurses Association, the Mississippi
State Department of Health and the Mississippi Affiliate of the
American Heart Association to help launch the campaign.
More than 50
percent of Mississippi deaths related to cardiac disease occur in
women, the group noted. "But frighteningly, a recent national
survey shows only 8 percent of women even realize that cardiovascular
disease is a significant health risk to females. The campaign is
especially aimed at women ages 40 to 60, the time when a woman's
risk of heart disease starts to rise. But its messages are also
important for younger women, since heart disease develops gradually
and can start at a young age - even in the teenage years. Older
women have an interest too - it's never too late to take action
to prevent and control the risk factors for heart disease. Even
those who have heart disease can improve their heart health and
quality of life."
Dr. Claude Lenfant, noted that despite mounting research and advances
in treatment, women are not getting the message that one of every
three American women is dying of heart disease. "Our goal is
to save lives," he said. "We hope to make women aware
of the risk factors for heart disease and to motivate them - with
the help of their health care professionals - to take an active
role in their heart health."
warns women about heart disease and provides tools to help them
take action against its risk factors, the NHLBI says. "Its
message is paired with an arresting visual - the Red Dress - that
serves as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness.
The Red Dress symbol links a woman's focus on her 'outer self' to
the need to also focus on her 'inner self' and her heart."
See more about the Red Dress at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov.
Wear Red Day campaign is an excellent way to get women to think
about their risk for heart disease," said Dr. Joan Exline,
interim dean of The University of Southern Mississippi's College
of Health. "Many women think of heart disease as something
that will only impact them later in life, if at all, and instead
focus only on concerns about cancer. But reducing the risk for heart
disease is a lifelong process and we need to understand that heart
disease is the No. 1 killer for women."
has planned events for the month of February to coincide with the
national "The Heart Truth" campaign.
in February, the Student Health Center will have free cholesterol
screening for students, faculty, and staff, said Dr. Wayne Billion.
of it as being a men's disease, but females, especially after menopause,
can have problems with heart disease," said Billion, associate
professor of nutrition in the Center for Nutrition and Food Systems
at Southern Miss. "It's something they have to be aware of,
like elevated cholesterol, and eating good, which is the same for
females and males alike."
eating low-saturated fat and low trans fat items, increasing the
good kinds of fat, such as that from fish, and increasing fiber
and fruits and vegetables in the diet.
A Weight Watchers
group's first meeting at the university will be Feb. 11 in Room
A of the Commons banquet rooms. They need 20 people to begin the
group, which plans to meet for 10 weeks, excluding spring break.
Cost is $110. And Southern Miss' Counseling Center is planning events
for National Eating Disorders Week Feb 22-29.
Systems contacted more than 30 statewide organizations interested
in providing heart health information for their employees and the
community. Baptist Health Systems also arranged for four of the
"Red Dresses" to be on display in Jackson to help kick
off the state campaign.
off a favorite red dress, shirt or tie, Americans will unite in
the national movement to give women a personal and urgent wakeup
call about their risk of heart disease," notes the Mississippi
Baptist Health Systems Web site at http://www.mbhs.org. "The
Red Dress is the heart of the Red Dress Project, which debuted at
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, Feb. 7-14, 2003, during
American Heart Month. This groundbreaking project
the Red Dress icon to raise awareness of women's risk of heart disease
to build awareness that women are at risk; give a sense of
hope that women can reduce their risk and empower them to do so;
and provide a clear call to action coupled with a sense of urgency."
assistant director for undergraduate programs in the School of Nursing
in the College of Health at Southern Miss, said that many times
women refuse to believe that their symptoms could be heart related.
the No. 1 killer of women, but many (women) believe it's a man's
illness, and don't take their symptoms seriously," she said.
"Often, these women have advanced heart disease when they finally
seek treatment. We hope to make women aware of the disease, so many
women are wearing red to show others (the seriousness) of the matter."
founder and executive director of WomenHeart, said that she thinks
this heart focus is necessary and that "this campaign is absolutely
given to us and to the American people.
want to say thank you so much on behalf of the 8 million women in
America who are living with this dreadful disease."