Thousands of Americans will help women fight heart disease when they participate in this year’s Go Red for Women initiative sponsored by the American Heart Association.

“We want women in our community to be aware of heart disease,” said Van Smith, President of The Outer Banks Hospital, “and it’s our job to help them learn as much as they can about the disease and its effects.” Hospital employees will be challenged to wear red this Friday, February 1st, and the hospital itself will place red filters on its flood lights to emphasize the need for women to learn the warning signs of heart disease.

“Heart disease doesn’t just affect women after a certain age,” said Smith. “There are women under the age of 35 who have suffered heart attacks and strokes as a result of cardiovascular disease. Every woman needs to understand her risks and take appropriate measures to live a longer, healthier life.” Risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, being overweight and lack of exercise.

The hospital is also challenging other businesses to encourage their employees to wear red on February 1. “Go Red for Women is an effort everyone should support,” said Smith. “Wearing red symbolizes our support of this important women’s health initiative. On national Go Red for Women Day we have the opportunity to encourage the women we know to talk to their doctors about heart disease and good heart health.”

For more information on the national Go Red for Women initiative, visit www.goredforwomen.com. You can also visit the American Heart Association’s website at www.americanheart.org for more information about women and heart disease.