Women across the country dressed in red Friday for a cause close to their hearts.
Feb. 3, 2012 is National Wear Red Day. The goal of the movement is to spread awareness about the seriousness of cardiac disease, especially among women. Health experts say most women don't realize, it's their number one killer. That's why the American Heart Association has made the entire month of February American Heart Month.
"It is a month to make everybody aware of heart disease and what they need to look for as far as symptoms regarding heart disease," said Laurie Erdman, a cardiology nurse practitioner at Aspirus Hospital in Wausa. "And being aware of what you can do to prevent heart disease and where you can go if you have concerns."
Erdman says most people are familiar with symptoms associated with heart disease in men, and that's one reason many women don't realize when they're suffering from it.
"The tendency is for them to develop heart disease later on in life, later on than men do," Erdman said. "And sometimes their symptoms are a lot different than what men tend to have. They may have more problems with shortness of breath, abdominal pain."
The best way to prevent heart disease, or to catch it early on, is to understand the many factors that lead to it.
"By keeping the weight down and exercising, that will in turn help prevent diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol," Erdman said. "Family history, we can't control, but be aware of your family history as well."
The number one way for anyone to cut their chances of developing the disease is to not smoke.