Doctor and patient (illustrative)..
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Health Minister MK Ya’acov Litzman has committed his office to increasing awareness of heart disease, especially by undergoing preventive tests, among women.
He said so at a ceremony marking the opening of the women’s heart center at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.
The ceremony last Wednesday was attended by Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America’s outgoing national president Marcie Natan, MKs, doctors and municipal officials.
The center is headed by Dr.
Donna Zfat. In an average year, 5,500 Israeli women died of cardiovascular disease – compared to just 4,977 Israeli men. All kinds of cancers killed 5,088 women.
The center was established with a $10 million donation from Irene Pollin of Washington, DC, to memorialize her daughter Linda Joy who died of heart disease at the age of 16.
MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash), who is chairman of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, said women “suffer in silence and usually don’t go to the emergency room on time. When they finally get there, we are told that if we were men, we would have sent ourselves for an examination. We should demand that we be treated as well.”
Arab and ultra-Orthodox are most likely to neglect their cardiac health. The MK said she would serve as a “presenter” to promote women’s heart health on public service messages. Women should exercise to keep their hearts healthy, she added to enthusiastic applause.
Until recently, nobody knew that cardiovascular diseases are the leading cost of death in women, said Prof.
Chaim Lotan, head of Hadassah’s cardiology branch.
“We discriminated against a whole sector in education about heart disease. Now we have to carry out reeducation,” he said. Eighty percent of heart attacks in women can be prevented.
The center has an interdisciplinary team including a psychologist, clinical dietitian and physiotherapist in addition to cardiologists.
They especially target the Hassidic community and Arabs in eastern Jerusalem for prevention and early screening, said Zfat.