By Wendy Sarubbi | February 10, 2014 2:57 pm

UCF College of Medicine faculty, staff and students donned red February 7 to celebrate National Wear Red Day – the first Friday each February – and bring attention to women and heart disease.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, more deadly than all forms of cancer. Yet many women assume cardiac conditions are predominantly a male condition and do not realize that their symptoms can be drastically different from a man’s. A pain in the jaw, neck or back may not be from over-exercising or stress. These may be symptoms of a heart attack in women.

The American Heart Association reports that since the first National Wear Red Day in 2003, America is making strides in the fight against heart disease in women. That’s thanks to research – such as the cardiovascular research being done at the medical school’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences – and education on lifestyle changes women can make to improve their heart health. For example, since 2003:

  1. 34% fewer women now die from heart disease, saving 330 lives every day.
  2. 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 and 33% have developed heart health plans with their doctor.

Every year on the first Friday of February, the American Heart Association asks all of us to wear red, and “Go Red,” in recognition of heart health.

“As a college of medicine, we are all involved in the fight to eliminate heart disease,” Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and dean said as she invited everyone to wear red on February 7. “In recognition of our combined efforts to eliminate heart disease and improve our own wellness and that of our patients, let’s ‘Go Red’ Friday.”

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