Women's Health

9 Facts About Women’s Health 

We all know we can always move more and eat healthier, but what about those conditions that we, as women, should watch out for? Here’s a list of our top nine that—with a little more awareness—we can do our best to prevent:

  1. Heart disease – Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women, but women are more likely than men to die following a heart attack. Additionally, almost two-thirds of women who die suddenly from coronary artery disease don’t exhibit any symptoms. The lesson? Never hesitate to ask your doctor to assess your heart health.
  2. Breast cancer – Regardless of race or ethnicity, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. Breast cancer screenings help save lives. Mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer while conditions are treatable for optimal results. Women should consult with their doctor about their breast cancer risk and recommendations for breast cancer screening.
  3. Osteoporosis – Among Americans with osteoporosis, more than 80 percent are women. Most common in women 65 and older, osteoporosis is a bone-loss disease that gradually weakens bones, creating a higher risk for fractures. Because bone loss is often caused by very low levels of estrogen, women are more susceptible after menopause (when estrogen levels decline). As a way to counter bone loss, experts recommend adding strength-training exercises or yoga to your routine.
  4. Depression and anxiety – A person’s emotional health is a vital component to overall wellness, yet women are twice as likely as men to suffer from general anxiety disorder (GAD) and depression—with one in eight women experiencing depression in their lifetime. About nine percent of women also suffer from post-partum anxiety and about 13 percent suffer from post-partum depression. Does someone you know need help? Don’t hesitate to recommend a healthcare professional.
  5. Cervical cancer – Prior to the introduction of the Pap test in the 1940s, cervical cancer was among the leading causes of cancer-related deaths among American women. Although women with human papillomavirus (HPV) are high risk for cervical cancer, it can be easily detected during early-stage screenings. When caught early, it’s a highly treatable form of cancer.
  6. Eating disorders – Girls and women are two-and-a-half times more likely than boys and men to struggle with conditions such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating, and body dysmorphia. And one in five women experience an eating disorder in their lifetime. Without professional care, it can progress into a serious chronic condition.
  7. Iron-deficiency anemia – As the name suggests, iron-deficiency anemia occurs when there isn’t enough iron in the body, preventing the production of enough healthy red blood cells. More women than men are affected by iron-deficiency anemia, and it’s most common during pregnancy. In severe cases, symptoms may include unexplained tiredness and weakness, pale skin, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and brittle nails or hair loss. To treat iron-deficiency anemia, your doctor may recommend iron supplements or—if needed—treat the underlying cause of your iron deficiency.
  8. Autoimmune diseases – There are more than 100 varying types of autoimmune diseases, which include Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and so many more. Doctors don’t know what causes the immune system to misfire, but genetics play a significant role. Of the 50,000 Americans living with an autoimmune disease, 75 percent are women.  
  9. Flu viruses – Getting an annual flu shot is important for everyone, including expectant and new mothers. Pregnant women are considered high risk for developing serious complications from the flu—increasing the mother’s chances of being hospitalized during pregnancy. And a fever from the flu during pregnancy could increase the risk of fetal birth defects.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Women’s Health, Medline Plus, National Institute of Mental Health, WebMD, American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, American Cancer Society, and American Society of Hematology 

 


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Last updated 11/27/2018