Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of American women, claiming the lives of nearly 500,000 women each year. But it is largely preventable. In an effort to raise awareness about this deadly disease, Walden University’s College of Health Sciences is proudly partnering with the American Heart Association this February—American Heart Month—as a national sponsor of Go Red For Women.

Go Red For Women began in 2004 as an initiative to empower women to take charge of their heart health. After nearly 10 years, more than 627,000 women’s lives have been saved and 23% more women are knowledgeable about heart disease. ThroughGo Red For Women, more women and men have become informed about heart disease and are taking steps to improve their heart health. You, too, can get involved and become informed by visiting www.goredforwomen.org.

  • February is American Heart Health Month

  • Awareness Videos
  • Common Questions
  • Statistics at a Glance
  • Heart Tips
  • Donate Today
  • Events

The Real Women of 2012

10 Years of Fighting Heart Disease in Women

Just a Little Heart Attack

What is Go Red For Women?

To dispel the myths and raise awareness about heart disease, the American Heart Association (AHA) created Go Red For Women—a passionate, emotional social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health. This national campaign is widely recognized by its logo depicting a red dress, which is shared among all organizations committed to the cause.

Learn more about Go Red For Women.

What is National Wear Red Day®?

Join the Walden community in celebrating National Wear Red Day® on Friday, Feb. 1. Wear red to raise awareness about heart disease and upload your photos to our Facebook page.

Learn more about National Wear Red Day®.

What is cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease affects the heart and blood vessels and occurs when a substance called plaque builds up in the artery walls. This narrowing of the arteries makes blood flow difficult and can cause clots.

Learn more about cardiovascular disease.

Is heart disease only prevalent in men, and cancer is the real threat for women?

Fact: Heart disease is a killer that strikes more women than men, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. While one in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, heart disease claims the lives of one in three. That’s roughly one death each minute.

Is heart disease only for older people?

Fact: Heart disease affects women of all ages. For younger women, the combination of birth control pills and smoking boosts heart disease risks by 20 percent. And while the risks do increase with age, things like overeating and a sedentary lifestyle can cause plaque to accumulate and lead to clogged arteries later in life. But even if you lead a completely healthy lifestyle, being born with an underlying heart condition can be a risk factor.

Does heart disease affect women who are fit?

Fact: Even if you’re a yoga-loving, marathon-running workout fiend, your risk for heart disease isn’t completely eliminated. Factors like cholesterol, eating habits, and smoking can counterbalance your other healthy habits. You can be thin and have high cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends you start getting your cholesterol checked at age 20, or earlier, if your family has a history of heart disease. And while you’re at it, be sure to keep an eye on your blood pressure at your next check-up.

What are symptoms of heart disease in women?

Fact: Sixty-four percent of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms. Because these symptoms vary greatly between men and women, they’re often misunderstood. Media has conditioned us to believe that the telltale sign of a heart attack is extreme chest pain. But in reality, women are somewhat more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain. Other symptoms women should look out for are dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, and extreme fatigue.

Is there anything I can do if heart disease runs in my family?

Fact: Although women with a family history of heart disease are at higher risk, there’s plenty you can do to dramatically reduce it. Simply create an action plan to keep your heart healthy.

Because of healthy choices and knowing the signs, more than 627,000 women have been saved from heart disease, and 330 fewer are dying per day. What’s stopping you from taking action?

Fork in a saladWomen at a yoga class

Is Your Heart Healthy?

You may look and feel healthy. But do you know your risk for developing heart disease over the next 10 years?

Take the Go Red Heart Checkup

Since its inception, the American Heart Association (AHA) has led efforts in research, prevention, and treatment of heart disease, providing knowledge-based solutions for people of all ages. And every year, the AHA works together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies to compile the most comprehensive and up-to-date statistics on heart disease, stroke, and other vascular diseases.

These statistics are used by health researchers, clinicians, healthcare policy makers, media professionals, and consumers, serving as a major source for monitoring the cardiovascular health of the wider population. Here are some of the latest findings.

General Statistics

  • Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.
  • Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.
  • An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease.
  • Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  • Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease.
  • The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women and men, and are often misunderstood.
  • While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease.
  • Only 1 in 5 American women believes that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
  • Women comprise only 24% of participants in all heart-related studies.

Hispanic Women

  • Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than Caucasian women.
  • Only 1 in 3 Hispanic women are aware that heart disease is their No. 1 killer.
  • Only 3 in 10 Hispanic women say they have been informed that they are at a higher risk.
  • Only 1 in 4 Hispanic women is aware of treatment options.
  • Hispanic women are more likely to take preventive actions for their family when it comes to heart health.

African-American Women

  • Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for African American women.
  • Of African American women ages 20 and older, 46.9% have cardiovascular disease
  • Only 1 in 5 African American women thinks she is personally at risk.
  • Nearly 50% of African American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Only 43% of African American women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk.

These statistics represent only a fraction of the 2012 report featured in Circulation. To view the full findings, download a copy of the Heart Disease and Stroke 2012 Statistical Update.

Fork in a saladWomen at a yoga class

Is Your Heart Healthy?

You may look and feel healthy. But do you know your risk for developing heart disease over the next 10 years?

Take the Go Red Heart Checkup

Know Your Numbers

Your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, weight, and body mass index are among the important numbers you need to know as you assess your risk for heart disease.

Learn about the numbers that count for heart health.
Use this simple worksheet to find out if your numbers are heart healthy.

Love Your Heart

Whether you’re at work, at home, or on the go, you can make many simple changes to your daily lifestyle that will improve your heart health and lower your risk for heart disease.

Learn healthy tips for daily living.

Life’s Simple 7

Heart-healthy living starts with the Simple 7:

  • Get active.
  • Control your cholesterol.
  • Eat better.
  • Manage your blood pressure.
  • Lose weight.
  • Reduce your blood sugar.
  • Stop smoking.

Learn more about Life’s Simple 7.

Understand Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a silent killer, causing significant damage to your heart, arteries, and other organs. Discover what you need to know:

What is high blood pressure?
Why does high blood pressure matter?
What is my risk for high blood pressure?
What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?
How can I prevent and treat high blood pressure?


Eating healthy will lower your risk for heart disease. Small, simple changes in your eating habits can make a big difference in your heart health:

  • Know what and how much to eat.
  • Try 10 foods in red.
  • Eliminate tobacco and drink alcohol only in moderation.
  • Cook healthfully.

How Can I Change Recipes?
How Can I Cook Healthfully?
How Do I Read Food Labels?
Grilled Chicken with Strawberry and Pineapple Salsa

Caring for Someone With Heart Disease

Caring for someone who is suffering from heart disease doesn’t mean you need to put your own health and happiness on hold. In order to better care for your loved one and yourself, you should understand your rights and responsibilities as a caregiver and be realistic about what you can control. Don’t forget to take time out for yourself and seek the support of others when needed.

Find more resources for caregivers.

My Life Check

Take this simple assessment to find out your heart score and get a customized action plan for a heart-healthier lifestyle.

Get your assessment.


Exercising at least 30 minutes at least five days a week not only lowers your risk for heart disease—it also boosts your brain power, strengthens your immunity, lowers stress, promotes positive thinking, keeps your weight under control, and much more. Start moving your way to a healthier heart today.

Why is exercise important?
How much physical activity do I need?
Tips for exercise success

Fork in a saladWomen at a yoga class

Is Your Heart Healthy?

You may look and feel healthy. But do you know your risk for developing heart disease over the next 10 years?

Take the Go Red Heart Checkup

When you donate to the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women campaign, you support medical research, awareness, education, and community programs that help women live longer, heart-healthy lives.

Donate to Go Red For Women today.

Group of women in red dresses

Go Red for Women AHA logo

Go Red For Women

Join Walden and the American Heart Association and make it your mission to fight heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women.

Learn More

National Events

Date  Event  Audience
Friday, February 1
All Day
Wear Red Day  Public
Monday, February 18 
7 p.m. EST
Live Webinar: Heart Smart: Live Heart Healthy Public
Tuesday, February 26 
7 p.m. EST 
Facebook chat with Rhonda Monroe Public

Walden Events

Date  Event  Audience
Friday, February 1 
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 
Photo booth Staff and Faculty

Go Red for Women AHA logo

Learn to Live Heart Healthy

Learn tips and advice for living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Join us for a webinar on Feb. 18 at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Register Now