Hallways and Runways: American Heart Association Month
Haley Macray, Veritas Web and Feature Editor
February is American Heart Month, a time not only for recognizing the heart as the universal symbol of love, but more importantly for raising awareness of the diseases that can affect it.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) includes heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. It is the number one killer of both men and women within the United States. Causes of heart disease include unhealthy diets, lack of physical activity, smoking and tobacco use habits, obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes. Many heart disease related deaths could be prevented by simply monitoring and altering these factors.
Gender and ethnicity also play a role in who is most likely to be affected by CVD.
“Men are more than twice as likely as women to die from preventable CVD,” says the Center for Disease Control. “Nearly 44% of African American men and 48% of African American women have some form of CVD. And African Americans are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to have high blood pressure and to develop the condition earlier in life. About two in five African American adults have high blood pressure, yet fewer than half of them have the condition under control.”
According to Million Hearts, one in three adults (80 million) in the United States have some form of heart disease, stroke, or other blood vessel diseases.
While cardiovascular disease does significantly affect men, it also impacts women as well.
The American Heart Association founded Go Red for Women in 2004 to raise awareness of the lesser known risk of CVD in women.
“In the past, heart disease and heart attack have been predominantly associated with men. Historically, men have been the subjects of the research done to understand heart disease and stroke, which has been the basis for treatment guidelines and programs. This led to an oversimplified, distorted view of heart disease and risk, which has worked to the detriment of women,” says the Go Red for Women’s website.
“Because women have been largely ignored as a specific group, their awareness of their risk of this often-preventable disease has suffered. Only 55 percent of women realize heart disease is their No. 1 killer and less than half know what are considered healthy levels for cardiovascular risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol. The Go Red For Women movement works to make sure women know they are at risk so they can take action to protect their health.”
This campaign is now signified by the easily recognizable red dress logo. This iconic logo will be transformed into real life renditions again this year at Mercedes Benz Fashion week.
The Go Red for Women Red Dress Collection 2015 will make its debut on February 12. Presented by Macy’s, the Red Dress Collection is where, “top designers, models and celebrities demonstrate their support for women’s heart health,” according to the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week website.
Past Red Dress Collection designers have included Zac Posen, Alice + Olivia, Badgley Mischka, Carolina Herrera, Marchesa, Donna Karen, Dolce and Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta, and Cynthia Rowley. Their dresses were worn by celebrities such as Anna Sophia Robb, Bella Thorne, Joan Jett, Kat Graham, and Victoria Justice. According to Women’s Wear Daily this year’s A-list roster will include YouTube beauty sensation, Bethany Mota and Orange is the New Black actress, Laverne Cox.
For those who won’t be attending the elite fashion show at Lincoln Center, the American Heart Association has some great fashion accessories to offer on their online store. From bowties and scarves to jewelry and graphic t-shirts, it’s easy to show your support for Heart Disease and bring attention to the cause.