In February, the color red is for women.

The first Friday in February of each year is a very special day for women. This year, February 2 is National Wear Red Day—the day where people come together each year and wear red in support of women’s health. This day brings awareness to how vastly different heart disease affects women.

Contrary to popular belief, breast cancer is not the top killer of women in the United States—in fact, heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined. Annually, 500,000 women in the United States die because of heart disease, but only 13% of women know about the health risks which come along with this deadly disease.

Heart disease affects people due to a combination of things, including age, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels, as well as chronic disease (such as diabetes, menopause, a history of smoking, and mental stress).

As you age, the risk of a heart attack or stroke increases more and more. Fewer women than men survive their first heart attack, which is why becoming knowledgeable about the symptoms are important. Heart attacks in men are more commonly associated with excruciating chest pain, but women can experience more subtle symptoms—such as shortness of breath or tightening of chest.

Wearing Red

In anticipation of February 2, many women across the country will skim their wardrobes or visit their favorite store to purchase red clothing—helping to raise awareness for women’s health and to help spread the word about how women are affected by heart disease.