Heart disease awareness: red hot celebrities kick off New York Fashion Week for charity

The Red Dress came to life in a flurry of glitz and glamor at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City last night with the debut of the Red Dress Collection 2011. Stunning fashion and celebrities galore, all in the name of encouraging women to be heart smart.

Wearing red in February isn’t just reserved for Valentine’s Day anymore. On 4 February woman across the States were rummaging through their cupboards and slipping into their favorite red numbers, all in the name of a good cause: to raise awareness about heart disease.

Last night was the glammed up version, with celebrities including Burlesque dancer  Dita von Teese, former Hills star Audrina Patridge and model Camila Alves donning ravishing gowns and sashaying down the catwalk to show their support for the American Heart Association’s annual Wear Red Day.

National Wear Red Day was created in support of The Heart Truth, a national awareness campaign implemented to “give women a [adsense]personal and urgent wakeup call about their risk of heart disease.” In 2002 it launched its eye-catching logo of a red dress to remind people: ” “Heart Disease Doesn’t Care What You Wear — It’s the #1 Killer of Women.” According to the Women’s Heart Foundation, approximately 8.6 million women die from heart disease annually.

Heart disease, which is brought on when arteries in the heart become clogged and oxygen and essential nutrients can no longer  travel freely to the heart, is the number one killer of women. One in four women will die of heart disease, compared to one in 30 who will die from breast cancer. In fact, according to Susan B. Shurin, M.D., director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), more women die of heart disease than from all types of cancer combined.

African Americans and Hispanics are more prone to heart disease and people with a high blood pressure, cholesterol, who are overweight and who smoke are also at an increased risk. The good news is that with the awareness that is being generated about how to be heart smart, people are increasingly taking the necessary steps to lower the risks by giving smoking the boot, eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and physically active lifestyle.  Together, these lifestyle changes can lower a woman’s chance of heart disease by more than 82 percent.

This year’s dresses will go online after the show, with proceeds to benefit the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and their efforts related to women’s heart health awareness and research.

Click here to read about getting healthy with the vegetarian diet, the raw food diet and the vegan diet.

Images: dita-von-teese.org and freakgossip.com