LOS ANGELES - It's National Wear Red Day.
It's a movement to empower women to take charge of their heart health.
To help kick things off, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center hosted a big event that included screenings, education and a panel discussion with doctors who specialize in every field of heart health.
In the Harvey Morse Auditorium, women wore red dresses to raise awareness about the red flags of heart disease.
Dr. Chrisanda Shufelt, certified menopause practitioner and associate director of the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center said, "We really promote that heart disease is still the number one killer of women."
Hundreds of women learned about effective strategies to manage their risks for heart attack and stroke at every stage of their lives.
When 55-year-old Chesney Hill started getting hot flashes, she also noticed changes in her heart health. She wanted relief from menopausal symptoms, but estrogen therapy concerned her.
"I was a little confused about hormones - whether they were safe or not," said Hill.
"We used to think that estrogen was protective of the heart. We've learned a lot in the last 15 years," said Shufelt.
She said while hormone therapy doesn't protect the heart, it doesn't hurt it either. She recommends women get a full heart evaluation before undergoing any treatment.
"Before menopause a woman's risk of dying from hd is one out of eight," Shufelt said, "After, it's about one out of two or three."
For women 50 to 55, estrogen is an important and appropriate treatment for menopausal symptoms. If taken for three to five years, studies show hormones won't increase a woman's heart disease risk. But it's not recommended for women in their 60s or those at high risk for breast cancer.
After trying different forms of estrogen, Hill settled on a transdermal patch. The advantages? It delivers accurate doses and is less likely to cause inflammation and blood clots.
"We're really seeing a difference in how our bodies break down estrogens verses trans-dermal or estrogens that go through the skin," said Shufelt.
Regular exercise and eating a Mediterranean-style diet also help Hill's heart. And awareness eases her mind.
Hill said, "It (menopause) doesn't have to be a fearful place. It can be a good time. It's a good change."
Promoting good changes is what Wearing Red Day is all about.
It reminds women to put their heart health first.