National Wear Red Day Promotes Heart Health Every Day

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Friday may have been designated National Wear Red Day, but that doesn't mean the campaign's message can't be applied throughout the rest of the year.

The American Heart Association created National Wear Red Day to promote heart health awareness for women. As NBC's Erika Edwards reports, the goal is to get people thinking and moving.

The color red refers to the heart, as heart disease is the United States' number one killer of women. Experts say a woman in the U.S. dies every 80 seconds from cardiovascular disease.

That's why it's always a good idea to stand up and get moving. Exercise is one of the best ways--if not the best--to help prevent heart disease. Exercise to help combat heart disease can be as simple as a brisk walk for 30 minutes every day.

Eating certain types of food can also help bring down levels of unhealthy cholesterol. Experts recommend a variety of whole grains like oats and bran, fatty fish like salmon, as well as avocados, nuts, seeds, flax seeds, and good ol' fruits and vegetables.

Heart attack symptoms can be hard to recognize in women, and can include chest pain as well as shortness of breath, back pain, jaw pain, and nausea. But one of the best indicators may simply be intuition. Trust your gut and call 911 if you believe something is wrong.

Quitting smoking also greatly reduces the risk for heart disease, and tobacco is linked to about 30% of heart disease cases.