The focus of National Wear Red Day is on the ladies, but everyone is invited to participate.
Friday's observance of Wear Red Day is part of the Go Red For Women programs sponsored by the American Heart Association.
As a male, heart disease patient who has experienced the stress test, cardiac catherization and triple-bypass surgery, I support the association's research and education. I also have shared my personal experience and the sometimes-subtle indicators of heart disease in the past.
If I have been remiss in my efforts, it is my failure to emphasize that heart disease is non-discriminatory. It is the No. 1 killer for both men and women.
And, the association points out, one in three women dies of this largely preventable disease.
On Friday, the 10th anniversary of Go Red for Women, the association listed 10 accomplishments during the past decade.
We won't list them all, but a sampling includes:
• Heart disease deaths among women have decreased 34 percent.
• Nearly 90 percent of participants made healthy lifestyle changes, including 37 percent who have lost excess weight.
• Awareness that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women has increased 23 percent.
• Risk factors have declined, including a 15 percent decrease in smoking and 18 percent drop in cholesterol levels.
• Research and advocacy efforts have narrowed the gender gap among men and women. The FDA now requires the results of clinical studies to be reported by gender. Consequently, increased gender-based research has revealed important differences in women's symptoms and response to medications.
We encourage everyone to wear red on Friday to raise awareness and support in continuing battle against heart disease.
Symptoms and treatment may differ between men and women, but when it comes to severity, this No. 1 killer makes no gender distinction. Neither should we.