Dr. Madison explains if there are harmful long-term side effects for women who have restless leg syndrome.
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Hi, I am Nieca Goldberg. I am a cardiologist and I’ve lived in New York City my whole life, and I am also Medical Director of the NYU Women’s Heart Center at the NYU Langone Medical Center here in New York City. It has always been my passion, as a cardiologist, to advocate for those who may not be served so well by the healthcare resources, and in particular, I focus my life and my work on women and heart disease because I was always very frustrated that on the day I graduated from medical school, it was the time that women’s heart disease death rates were rising and we actually graduated with not knowing why, or we were actually graduated with not knowing that fact, and in fact, when we went to medical school, the typical patient having a heart attack was going to be a middle-aged businessman clutching his chest. So if you think if you educate 220 students in that one medical school class alone, and the face they showed was a man’s face as the typical patient, think about the lack of information and how many women’s heart attacks were going to be missed. Well, if you just look at the anatomy, women’s hearts are proportionally smaller. We women have slightly faster heart rates than men, and when we have heart attacks, it may not be as obvious to us or to doctors because instead of women describing this clutching chest pressure in the center of the chest or the so-called Hollywood heart attack, they really have symptoms that appear on the surface to be more subtle, like shortness of breath or unusual fatigue or the pressure is lower down in the chest, all the more opportunity to give these women an excuse to say it's something else. And, in fact, when you look at the statistics, two-thirds of the women who have heart attacks in our country die before ever making it to the hospital. In 90% of those women who had died, there is at least one risk factor that could have been treated and hopefully, and may have prevented that heart attack and that those are the simple things that we know lots about: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, lack of exercise. So, it’s a combination of problems. Women’s heart disease death rates are high because sometimes their heart attacks go unrecognized. Sometimes they never make it to an emergency room because their symptoms are subtle, that they never think to call 911, and a large part of my work was with the American Heart Association to actually raise awareness on women and heart disease, of their risk factors and their symptoms.
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