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Wear Red Day: Interview with a cardiac surgeon

Since 2004, the American Heart Association has led Go Red for Women, an initiative addressing the awareness and clinical care gaps of women’s greatest health threat.
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Posted at 12:42 PM, Feb 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-02 18:12:45-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States — and the number one killer among women.

Since 2004, the American Heart Association has led Go Red for Women, an initiative addressing the awareness and clinical care gaps of women’s greatest health threat.

According to cardiac surgeon and former president of American Heart Association Board for Indianapolis Marc Gerdisch, heart disease is preventable but women often underestimate their symptoms.

"Women do tend to ignore their symptoms and sometimes their symptoms can be different, for any kind of condition," Dr. Gerdisch said. "Some more frequent conditions, for example Atrial fibrillation, which is irregular heart rhythm, women might ignore because you might just feel some palpitations but the reality of it is, once someone is admitted to the hospital for atrial fibrillation there's about a 50% chance that they'll be dead in five years."

Dr. Gerdisch says there's still many challenges in dealing with heart disease in women and concerning statistics that many aren't aware of.

According to Dr. Gerdisch:

  • roughly 75% of women over the age of 65 have high blood pressure
  • only about a quarter of women with high blood pressure are treated
  • half a million women will be diagnosed with heart failure
  • women are more likely to die from a heart attack from men

This is why the American Heart Association has dedicated the month of February to bringing awareness specifically to women.
Be sure to watch all month long as we share stories of people impacted by heart disease as well as tips about how you can live a heart-healthy life.

To learn more about Go Red for Women, visit the American Heart Association's website.