Today Is National Wear Red Day for Heart Disease Awareness

The National Wear Red Day campaign began nine years ago by the American Heart Association in an effort to raise awareness about heart health and the complications heart disease creates for women.

Heart disease is the largest killer of women in the United States and more women die of heart disease every year than all forms of caner combined.

"Go Red for Women celebrates the energy, passion, and power we have as women to ban together to wipe out heart disease and stroke," the American Heart Association said.

Americans across the country are being encouraged to join in raising awareness and promoting heart health via social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter and through local events. Schools, hospitals, and businesses around the country are participating by wearing red, holding fundraising events, and educating the public about cardiovascular disease.

Over 400,000 women die annually due to the impacts of cardiovascular disease and around eight million women suffer from heart disease. Risk factors include high blood pressure, a history of smoking, and high cholesterol.

"There has been more women dying of heart disease since 1984 and it continues to now," cardiologist Annabelle Volgman told CBS News.

Although the issue is widespread, over 80 percent of heart disease cases can be mitigated through lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, managing cholesterol and sodium intake, eating healthy, and staying physically fit.

Doctors also suggest that women see their health care providers regularly to get their blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels checked.

The AHA is determined to raise awareness of the issue to ensure women stay healthy and stop dying from preventable health complications.

"In 2010, the American Heart Association set a strategic goal of reducing death and disability from cardiovascular disease and strokes by 20% while improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% by the year 2020," the AHA says.