Regardless of which Kentucky college hoops team you cheer for, Friday is National Wear Red Day to bring awareness to American Heart Month and the leading cause of death around the globe — cardiovascular disease.

Since the Cats won’t play again until Saturday, there is no excuse not to participate in the event sponsored by the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health.

Did you know that more than 17.9 million deaths worldwide are caused by heart disease or stroke? By 2030, that number is expected to skyrocket to more than 23.6 million.

Cardiovascular disease was blamed for 647,457 U.S. deaths in 2018. That equates to a death every 37 seconds. In fact, 30.3 million American adults — 12.1% of the population — have been diagnosed with heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2017, heart disease was the leading cause of death in Kentucky, which ranked ninth in the U.S., claiming the lives of 10,343 — ahead of cancer (10,145 deaths) and chronic lower respiratory disease (3,480).

While family history plays a role, in nearly 80% of cases, cardiovascular disease is preventable through healthy lifestyle choices, including maintaining a healthy weight; controlling blood sugar and cholesterol; treating high blood pressure; not smoking; getting regular health checkups; and adding at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. 

Throughout February, the AHA will advocate for additional education for heart disease — especially for women, of whom 1 in 3 die each year from the condition.

“More research is needed to close gender disparity gaps in cardiovascular research, treatment and care,” said Ashley Mason, executive director of the AHA in Louisville. “That’s what Go Red for Women is all about.”

We encourage Frankfort residents to participate in National Wear Red Day on Friday to raise awareness and dispel the myths of heart disease. Snap a selfie of your red outfit and upload it to social media with #GoRedLou to help spread the word. For more information, visit

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