National Wear Red Day encourages women to wear red to raise heart health awareness

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S.

Shatica McDonald

February 3rd is National Wear Red Day, an effort to raise awareness about how to keep a heart healthy.

Shatica McDonald, the chair of American Heart Association’s “Detroit Go Red For Women” campaign and managing director at Accenture, wants people to dress in red and strike up a conversation with family and friends about healthy lifestyles, as well as help to protect their loved ones by learning CPR.

“We are challenging every household to have someone who knows CPR to ‘be the beat’ for their family, their friends or community,” says McDonald. “Each year 350,000 Americans die from cardiac arrest. About 90% of those people who experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, unfortunately, will pass on.”

McDonald says the campaign focuses on women’s heart health this year since heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S.

The AHA estimates almost half of the women over the age of 20 have cardiovascular disease. That’s why Detroit officials and business leaders plan a show of support for the effort.

“The American Heart Association and Blue Cross Blue Shield are working with downtown Detroit partnerships to turn downtown Detroit completely red, including buildings, storefronts, parks public access,” McDonald says. “So wear your red on Friday and hopefully, you’ll get to see our city support the American Heart Association for this day.”

McDonald says many women of color are especially at risk for heart disease, which becomes higher during pregnancy.

“We see a lot of teen pregnancies or young women pregnancies across Black communities, Latin American communities. And so for us, the four key risk factors are race, ethnicity, age, hypertension, and obesity.”

McDonald suggests people help prevent heart disease by keeping a close watch on their blood pressure, making regular visits to a doctor, and becoming a designated person in the family who learns CPR.

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  • Nargis Rahman
    Nargis Hakim Rahman is the Civic Reporter at 101.9 WDET. Rahman graduated from Wayne State University, where she was a part of the Journalism Institute of Media Diversity.