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Wearing Red: Put your heart into the effort

Are you wearing red today?

If not, you should be.

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the National Wear Red Day Celebration, a movement designed to raise awareness of the deadly effects of heart disease in American women.

Just how deadly?

According to the American Medical Association, cardiovascular disease and stroke cause one in three women’s deaths each year, killing about one woman every 80 seconds.

Think about that … in the time it takes an average person to read this commentary, another woman will die from cardiovascular disease.

And while the awareness effort is working – nearly 90 percent of American women have made at least one healthy behavior change since the movement began – the reality is still sobering. An estimated 44 million women in the United States are affected by cardiovascular diseases each year, and 90 percent have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.

More sobering: Alabama has the second highest death rate from cardiovascular disease in the country.

So what can you do?

Join the movement; raise awareness; change your habits; and make sure the women you know and love know about the dangers, the risks and the ways to develop a healthier lifestyle.

Here in Pike County, members of the Pike County Heart Board will be busy during the month of February raising awareness of cardiovascular issues, starting with Wear Red Day today and continuing through the annual Heart Walk fund-raiser and the entire month. Buying a “wear red” t-shirt, making a donation for the walk  – or better yet, participating in it – all help support the national efforts to educate Americans about the dangers of cardiovascular disease and to help researchers increase knowledge about cardiovascular health. It’s an opportunity to talk with loved ones about the dangers of high blood press (a silent killer) and unattended cardiovascular disease. It’s an opportunity to learn from those who have struggled through cardiac issues (at the annual Red Cap Survivors Breakfast) and the pay tribute to those who haven’t.

More important, it’s an opportunity to raise awareness, be proactive and, hopefully, save the life of someone you love.

So go on … wear your red today. And every day this month.