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News | Jan. 31, 2023

Put Your Heart in it, Wear Red!

By Bernard Little, WRNMMC Command Communications

National Wear Red Day is observed annually on the first Friday of February to draw attention to heart disease, one of the leading causes of death in the United States, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The Cardiology staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) traditionally recognizes National Wear Red Day by donning red (masks, clothing, making, accessories, etc.), to raise awareness about heart disease.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans, especially women,” said Joan LoepkerDuncan, chief nursing officer in charge of Cardiology Service at WRNMMC. “We want our patients to know their risk and partner with their providers to protect their hearts. Patients can ask their providers to check their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose.”

LoepkerDuncan added there are several things people can do to reduce their risk for heart disease, including never or quitting smoking, eating heart healthy, and aiming for at least 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 80 percent of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is preventable,” LoepkerDuncan continued.

About 700,000 people die of cardiovascular disease annually in the United States, accounting for every one in five deaths, CDC reports. The center also states that every year, about 800,000 people in the United States have a heart attack, and for about 600,000 of those people, it’s their first heart attack. In addition, about one in five heart attacks are silent, meaning the damage is done, but the person is not aware of it.

Both the CDC and NIH encourage people to know their risk factors for heart disease (high blood pressure; unhealthy blood cholesterol levels; smoking; obesity; family history; age; etc.), as well as prevention measures (choosing healthy foods and drinks; keeping a healthy weight; regular physical activity; not smoking or quitting if you do smoke; etc.).

For more information about heart disease, National Wear Red Day and American Heart Month, visit the NIH website at

For more information on Cardiology services at Walter Reed National Military medical Center, visit
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