“Only 34.4 percent of Israeli women know that heart disease is a major cause of death in women,” reports the Hadassah Medical Organization’s Linda Joy Pollin Women’s Cardiovascular Wellness Center in sharing the results of its telephone survey of over 1,000 participants.
This finding is despite the fact that heart disease is the number one killer of women throughout the world and in Israel. The Center reveals that in 2011 there were 5,457 deaths from heart disease among women in Israel, as compared to 5,088 deaths from all types of cancers put together.
The survey also found that only 25.9 percent of Arab women recognized heart disease as a major cause of death, even though the rate of heart disease among Arab women in Israel is 57% higher than that of Jewish women.
Although a majority of the women who were interviewed were able to identify some of the symptoms of a heart attack, such as chest pain or chest pressure, most missed other significant risk factors. Only 37.7 percent, for example, named being overweight as a risk factor and only 25.9 percent identified smoking. Less than 20 percent of the women identified cholesterol, family history or lack of physical activity; only 17.6 percent cited hypertension; and only 8.5 percent mentioned diabetes.
“This survey tells us how much work is ahead to educate and inform Israeli women from all sectors,” says Pollin Center Director Dr. Donna Zfat-Zwas. Having just returned from Boston with a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University, Dr. Zfat-Zwas looks forward to applying her new skills in health communication and behavioral change to her work at the Pollin Center on behalf of Israeli women.