People wear red as a way to bring attention to the problem of heart disease in women. Many women wear red dresses, the identifying symbol for the day. Health organizations hold seminars and public outreach events to educate people about prevention and screening of heart disease.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (N.I.H.) in the U.S, Coronary Heart Disease is the “#1 killer of women in the United States”. The day, which was first observed in 2002, aims to bring national attention to this fact, and to raise awareness of women’s heart health.
What does smoking actually do to your body that puts you at risk for heart disease? It may surprise you to learn that smoking increases the risk of heart disease and stroke by 2 to 4 times. Also, women who smoke have a 25 percent higher risk of developing heart disease as compared to men who smoke. And continuing to smoke throughout your life shaves 13-14 years off of it. So, despite beliefs to the contrary, smoking doesn’t just cause a risk for lung cancer.
Here’s a look at how smoking damages your heart:
- Nicotine makes your heart rate and blood pressure skyrocket.
- Carbon monoxide and tobacco rob your heart, brain and arteries of oxygen.
- It damages your blood vessels and makes your blood sticky – a recipe for blood clots.
- It lowers your tolerance for physical activity and decreases HDL (good) cholesterol.
- If you take oral contraceptives it increases your blood pressure and risk for stroke and heart attack.