February 7, 2021

Go Red for Women Day kicks off American Heart Month

Feb. 5th is the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Day, which kicks off the start of American Heart Month. The goals are to raise awareness and save lives

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — The color red symbolizes love, life and for the month of February, it represents heart health.

Friday, February 5th is the American Heart Association’s annual “Go Red For Women Day.” Launched in 2004, it is the AHA’s signature women’s initiative and the official kick off of American Heart Month.

“We are hoping that we will get women’s attention,” says Kellie Norton, with regional director with Blue Cross Blue Shield and chair of the 2021 Go Red for Women Experience in Grand Rapids. “We’re hoping everyone will wear red on this day, men, women, everyone. The red signifies the importance of women’s health and heart health. We know that 80% of the cardiac events can be prevented, through education and lifestyle changes, such as moving more and eating better. Many things that have to do with the heart are preventable.”

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Studies show only 1 in 5 American women are getting recommended amount of physical activity, which is 30 minutes per day. Norton says the Go Red campaign seeks to get women to take heart disease personally and understand that it can strike anyone. In fact, new data suggests younger generations of women, including Gen Z and Millennials, are less likely to be aware of their greatest health threat, including knowing the warning signs of heart attacks and strokes.  

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“We really are finding there is a knowledge gap. We’re finding they are consuming fast foods, the easy foods with preservatives. It’s just easy so folks gravitate towards that stuff for both young and old, but really for the young,” says Norton. “Also, the sedentary lifestyles. We’re all behind computers. We’re all using our phones, and we’re not getting up and moving as much as we should as little as 30 minutes a day is all it takes to make a significant change in your lifestyle.”

She says women should, also, be aware of cardiovascular disease in their family history and know the warning signs for heart attack and stroke.

“They are different for a woman than they are for a man, in many cases. You might feel it in your jaw. You might feel it in your back. You’re not necessarily going to feel it right in your chest area, as a man would,” she says. “You might also feel nausea, severe headaches, which is very different than in a man. So, you just need to know what those signs are, and you need to watch your blood pressure, watch your cholesterol, watch all the different signs and symptoms. If you’re starting to feel differently, those are the things that you want to talk to your doctor about.”

This year, the annual Grand Rapids Go Red for Women Experience luncheon will be a virtual event, instead.

 “We’ll miss seeing everyone in person, but a digital event means we can reach people we have never reached before. It will be on February 11th at noon,” says Norton. “And this year, it will be free to attend. So if you’ve ever wanted to go, this would be a great year to experience it.”

Click here for more information and to register.

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