Go Red for Women Day: Empowering Hearts Everywhere

In the fight against heart disease, Go Red for Women Day has emerged as a powerful campaign to raise awareness and promote heart health among women. Historically, heart disease has primarily been seen as a “men’s” disease, often overshadowing the reality that women are equally susceptible to its devastating effects. So, let’s look at the misconceptions surrounding heart disease and the impact it has on the lives of women across the country.

The American Heart Association’s Initiative

logo for american heart association's "go red for women" campaign. [credit: american heart association]The American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Day aims to combat the alarming rate of heart disease among women. Historically, heart disease research and public health campaigns have put the focus on men, leading to a lack of awareness about heart health in women. Recognizing this disparity, the American Heart Association set aside a specific day to highlight the unique challenges faced by women regarding heart disease, emphasizing the importance of prevention, early detection, and treatment.

Challenging Misconceptions

The misconception regarding heart disease can be traced to several factors, including the prevalence of heart attacks among middle-aged men and a bias in medical research that favored male subjects. As a result, women’s symptoms and risks often went unrecognized or were misdiagnosed, leading to delayed treatment and poorer outcomes.

Women and Heart Disease

But the surprising fact is heart disease is the leading cause of death for women worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 60 million women in the United States alone, are living with some form of heart disease. It affects women of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. However, the symptoms women experience can be very different when compared to men and the disparity often leads to underdiagnosis and undertreatment. For example, men may commonly exhibit “typical” heart attack symptoms like sudden, radiating chest pain. Women, on the other hand, may also report chest pain or discomfort, but they might also experience subtler signs such as fatigue, indigestion, dizziness, or back pain. In some cases, chest pain might not even be present.

There are several risk factors that can contribute to heart disease in women. Some of these factors are unique to women, like pregnancy-related complications such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, as well as conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and early menopause. Other common risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, physical inactivity, and, of course, a family history of heart disease.

Empowering Women through Go Red for Women Day

a woman in a red dress rides a bicycle along a path by a lake. [credit: pixabay.com, julita]
[credit: pixabay.com, julita]

What the Go Red for Women Day campaign does is empower all women to take control of their heart health. It encourages us to educate ourselves about the signs and symptoms of heart disease, adopt heart-healthy habits— such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management—and seek timely medical care. The campaign also emphasizes the importance of community support, urging us to inspire and motivate one another to prioritize heart health.

Let’s Paint the World Red

Heart disease knows no gender boundaries. By using this day to raise awareness and set personal goals, we all can take a significant step toward addressing the historical underrepresentation and misconceptions surrounding heart disease in women. Through education, advocacy, and support, we can empower women to prioritize their heart health, reduce the risk of heart disease, and live longer, healthier lives. Let’s paint the world red and inspire change for our mothers, daughters and sisters for better women’s cardiovascular health.


Get the facts. Learn more about women and heart disease at Go Red for Women.


Maria Portelos-Rometo is a UF/IFAS Extension Agent at Sarasota County. She specializes in Family and Consumer Sciences.
Posted: January 31, 2024

Category: Health & Nutrition, Work & Life
Tags: American Heart Association, Cardiovascular, Go Red For Women, GoRedForWomen, Heart, Pgm_FCS

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