Wearing red to raise awareness about heart disease

Wear Red March in Syracuse

Despite the snowy, slushy start to Friday morning, a ribbon of red moved through downtown Syracuse as part of National Wear Red Day.

It's a movement you may have seen extend into your office, or out on errands.

All across Central New York, neighbors are wearing red to kick off National Heart Month, and raise awareness about Heart Disease, the number one killer of women.

The American Heart Association says 43 million women are affected by Heart Disease in the United States. Heart Disease will kill one in three women this year. It will likely touch someone you know.

"I am thinking about my book club, 10 women. Three of us may die of heart disease," Anne Messenger, Chairwoman of the 2013 Go Red Campaign. "I'm thinking about the Alto section in my choir -- 6 women. Two of us may die of heart disease. Now this has become personal."

Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.

National Heart Month seeks to teach people about the risk factors, and how to prevent heart disease, and identify a heart attack when it happens.

"We don't have that Hollywood scene. You know, the men clutching their chest in terrible pain," says Messenger. "For women it is the silent killer, it may be nausea, it may be dizziness, a persistent pain in your jaw, your back or your arm. It's silent."

The American Heart Association says women are less likely to call 911 for themselves, than they are for someone else, when they're experiencing symptoms of a heart attack.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Go Red For Women campaign. Since it's started, the American Heart Association estimates it's helped save 627,000 lives. It's thought to have taught 23 percent women about important, life-saving information.

The goal this month, and moving forward, is to raise more awareness.

On Friday evening, several buildings in downtown Syracuse will be lit up in red, or feature red decorations to help the cause.

Look for crimson on City Hall, the Onondaga County Courthouse, Crouse Hospital, Key Bank, the Crowne Plaza Hotel, National Grid, and the Syracuse New Times.