How Gender Plays a Role in Heart Disease
Donna Zfat-Zwas, MD, MPH, is a cardiologist and the Director of the Linda Joy Pollin Cardiovascular Wellness Center for Women, in the Division of Cardiology at the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem, Israel. A graduate of Harvard Medical School and Barnard College, she's works with varying populations and believes her mission is to increase awareness of cardiovascular disease as a significant cause of death and illness in women throughout Israel.
About the Episode
"Am I having a heart attack?"
Barbara Sofer, the Hadassah Israel Director of Public Relations, was at synagogue one Saturday when she felt a sharp pain and asked herself that very question. She rushed to the hospital and got a wake-up call.
She met with Dr. Donna Zwas, a cardiologist and the Director of the Linda Joy Pollin Cardiovascular Wellness Center for Women at the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem. "It wasn't a heart attack, but it did raise my consciousness," Sofer recalled. "And I became one of Dr. Zwas' patients, so that was something maybe good that happened from it."
The two women join host Benyamin Cohen on this very special episode which coincides with American Heart Month.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death everywhere in the world and impacts both genders. But having gone through experiences like childbirth and menopause, women can have a higher threshold to pain, and often brush off symptoms of an impending heart attack. Moreover, women who have certain conditions during pregnancy — like hypertension of pre-eclampsia — have a significant risk of heart disease.
"The most important thing to me in terms of what I do is to empower women to listen to themselves," explained Dr. Zwas. "We're so busy worrying about everyone else that we are not worrying about ourselves. You need to take yourself seriously and take the next step. It's okay to go to the ER for a false alarm. And we have to help people understand and feel good that they took care of themselves."
Hadassah's Linda Joy Pollin Cardiovascular Wellness Center for Women aims to tackle these issues head on. Health activist and philanthropist Irene Pollin endowed the center after her daughter passed away from congenital heart disease. The center conducts medical research and works on projects to encourage women to lead heart healthy lifestyles, often embarking out to under-served communities to do so.
In this episode, Dr. Zwas talks about some of the various projects that the center is working on, how women are uniquely impacted by this disease, and offers some simple tips besides dieting to improve our heart health.
Saving Women's Hearts: The Dangers of Delay and the Power of Education
Video: Dr. Donna Zwas on the differences between men and women when it comes to heart disease
Hadassah's Linda Joy Pollin Women's Wellness Center: Expanding its Reach and Influence
February is American Heart Month to help raise awareness about heart health along with ways to prevent heart disease. #WearRed #OurHearts
For behind the scenes photos of this episode, click here
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The show is hosted by Benyamin Cohen and edited by Skyler Inman and the team at the Hadassah offices in both New York and Israel.
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