Heart disease has been called the Silent Killer because it often has no noticeable symptoms. It's more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. And it’s not just "an old man’s disease."
In 2003, research revealed that heart disease was by far the No. 1 killer of women, and actually killed more women than men. To save lives and raise awareness of this serious issue, the American Heart Association launched Go Red For Women. And the red dress has become the iconic symbol of our battle against heart disease in women
National Wear Red Day® — the first Friday each February — is our special day to bring attention to this silent killer of women. We encourage everyone to wear red, raise their voices, know their cardiovascular risk and take action to live longer, healthier lives.
A Decade of Success
Since the first National Wear Red Day in 2003, we've made tremendous strides in the fight against heart disease in women. Through research and education to healthy lifestyle changes, we’re proud that:
34% fewer women now die from heart disease, saving 330 lives every day.
More women are taking ownership of their health by developing healthy lifestyles:
37% are losing weight
43% are checking their cholesterol
more than 50% exercise more
60% have improved their diets
33% have developed heart health plans with their doctor.
Awareness is up. 23% more Americans now realize heart disease is the #1 killer of women.
Awareness among minorities is up, doubling among Hispanic women and tripling among African American women.
15% have quit smoking, and high cholesterol has declined by 18%
More communities have joined the fight. Registration in Go Red For Women is now more than 1.75 million. More than 25 million Red Dress Pins have been worn to support the cause. More than 185 cities host GRFW events and luncheons. And more than 2,000 landmarks light up in red on National Wear Red Day.
Legislative efforts are making a difference. Women no longer pay higher premiums than men for health coverage. And 20 states have programs for low-income women to get screenings for heart disease and strokes through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WISEWOMAN.
More gender-specific guidelines have been developed, because women’s symptoms and responses to medication differ from men’s.
Gender-specific medical research is up. The FDA now requires clinical trial results be reported by gender.
Gender-specific inequalities have been identified, ensuring women receive the same level of heart treatment as men.
More Work is Crucial
Yet, with all these successes, heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of women, killing almost 1,100 a day. But what’s more powerful than the killer? Millions of mothers, sisters, daughters and friends speaking up.
More than ever, your financial contributions help us continue our fight. Funds raised by Go Red support educational programs to increase women's awareness about their risk for heart disease and critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health.
We deeply appreciate all of your support. We wouldn’t be where we are without you. But we have more to accomplish.
Don’t be Silent about the Silent Killer
Help us save more lives. Get involved. Make a difference. Go Red and Speak Red, by telling other women that heart disease is their No. 1 killer.