IDAHO — The annual Go Red for Women Luncheon is, like many other events during the pandemic, changing things up to be COVID-19 safe. Instead of the usual gathering with hundreds of supporters in one room, everyone is now invited to take part in the 2021 Go Red for Women Digital Experience.
This year's event has more importance than ever. Despite the devastating toll of COVID-19, heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the U.S. and worldwide for women.
"Cardiovascular disease doesn't take a break during the pandemic, and we're still losing one in three women to this disease. Losing even one woman to cardiovascular disease is too many," says Cindy Copple, 2021 Go Red for Women Chair. "The good news is 80% of this disease can be prevented with lifestyle changes."
Part of the mission of the Go Red movement is to educate and empower women when it comes to their heart health, including knowing their numbers.
"We want Idaho women to know their numbers. Blood pressure, total cholesterol, blood sugar, and body mass index or BMI. We also want women to know that the heart attack warning signs look different in women than they do in men. They might experience pain in their neck, jaw, back, both arms, perhaps even nausea or shortness of breath, or lightheadedness," explains Copple.
Cardiovascular disease isn't just something that affects older women. Heart disease and stroke can affect a woman at any age, and the American Heart Association reports nearly 45% of women age 20 and older are living with some form of heart disease. Despite this, new data shows Gen Z and millennial women are less likely to be aware that heart disease is their greatest health threat.
That's one of the reasons why the Go Red for Women movement steps in to help ring the alarm for women of all ages.
"The Go Red for Women movement is in its 17th year, and during that time, they have advanced research, particularly for women's health and women's heart health. They've advanced public policy, championed closing the gender gaps in STEM and research, and created this platform for women to address their greatest health risk," Copple says.
This year's Go Red for Women event in Idaho will still be at lunchtime, but you can tune in from the comfort of home. The one-hour digital experience is set for 12 p.m. on Tuesday, February 16, and features education, a survivor story, and a keynote speaker.
The 2021 keynote speaker is Kathryn Childers who made history as one of the first female special agents selected to carry the badge of the Secret Service.