Professional careers… Raising children… Household chores and so many more ………between all this women are suffering too much stress with so little time to look after their health.
But now with the outgrowing awareness of many diseases a lot of researches have been made to help women boost their health.
Sometimes just by knowing the most common threats, their symptoms and different ways to prevent them can be enough to save a lot of women to fall into the trap of chronic illness.
Many diseases are more common among women or have a different effect on them than it has on men and some affect only women.
Varying between physical to psychological, dangerous types of cancers to just iron deficiency anemia women should have equal knowledge of all the health threats.
By focusing on only the dangerous well known threats like heart diseases and breast cancer a lot of women are by that ignoring other health issues that can be slowing them down without even knowing it , not getting tested for anemia as an example or ignoring obvious signs of depression can be almost as dangerous on the health as cancer or heart disease
So let’s shed some light on all the most common health issues women can suffer from
1. Heart diseases:
Many of us think of heart disease as something that only affects men but in fact it is one of the biggest killers of women worldwide.
Women who have a heart attack are less likely than men to survive the initial event
They also tend to experience symptoms different than men and they are often missed by doctors, to several a heart attack is equivalent to chest pain that’s why symptoms that commonly happen to women like a little bit of jaw pain, shoulder ache ,nausea , vomiting or shortness of breath are often missed or misdiagnosed to something else
So if you have any of the risk factors which are:
Smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity, diabetes and you don’t exercise especially if you are a postmenopausal woman you have to consider regular check ups and never wait for major signs
2. Breast cancer:
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women; it is second to lung cancer as the leading cause of death for women
There are no exact known causes to breast cancer but certain risk factors have been identified:
▪having significant family history of breast cancer
▪having no children or children late in life
▪taking hormone replacement therapy for long time
So it is important to control your weight, exercise, quit smoking and have regular screening
There is a lot of treatment for breast cancer but as with many types of cancers the key to successful treatment is early diagnosis
3. Cervical cancer:
Cervical cancer is the type of cancer that affects the cells lining the entrance of the uterus
It is not a well known type of cancer as breast cancer for example but now with the cervical cancer screening programs, all women aged 20 to 64 who have had sexual intercourse should have a smear test every three to five years.
Smear tests detect the early changes of cervical cancer which can be life saving to a lot of women.
Exactly how cervical cancer develops isn’t known but the main risk factor is the infection with certain types of human papilloma virus (HPV)
The symptoms include: – bleeding between periods or after sex
-unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge
-pain during intercourse
Any of these symptoms may have other causes ,that is why the smear test is important to detect if you are at risk.
Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become thin and weak and can break easily.
It has almost no warning signs and it can remain undiagnosed until a fracture occurs.
Hunched backs, back pain and frailty are no more symptoms older women have to live with.
A few changes and steps in your life style can be done to avoid such problems.
Osteoporosis is largely preventable but the behaviors women develop growing up play a significant role in the development of the disease, still it is never too late to keep bones strong and avoid fracture
Just by considering the risk factors and seeking help you can easily help yourself to avoid this problem, here are the risk factors:
-postmenopausal women especially if menopause was premature
-severe eating disorders
– Medication use especially glucocorticoids and some anticonvulsants
-family history of osteoporosis
-chronic illness such as thyroid disease, arthritis, bone diseases and hormonal problems
As well as examination and blood tests, there are a variety of other tests that can be done to give you a definite assessment of the density of your bones, the most common is called DXA scan.
The result of this scan can tell you if you have osteoporosis or are at risk
There are a number of available treatments if you are diagnosed which include
*calcium and vitamin D supplements
*bisphosphonates which greatly help in preventing breakdown
As we get older the body’s tissues lose elasticity and our skin becomes thinner, the same changes occur in internal structures which can lead to a problem known as prolapse of the pelvic organs.
There are several types of prolapse depending on where the weakness lies.
Some experts say up to 50% of women who had more than one child will eventually develop a prolapse.
Women need to be aware of the risks and the steps they can take to avoid it, which includes maintaining a healthy weigh, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables to avoid constipation and also there are specific exercises to keep the pelvic floor muscles strong known as keigel exercises for example
▪empty your bladder fully and then while sitting on the toilet, practice squeezing your pelvic muscles as if
you were trying to stop the flow of urine
(Don’t do this while actually urinating it can be harmful)
One of the commonest reasons for anemia in women is shortage of iron.
Many women are not aware they have a problem until they are tested or try to donate blood
But there are other indications that can alert you that you may have anemia such as
Getting tired easily, feeling short of breath, palpitations and looking pale.
Women are more at risk of anemia then men because they lose blood every month during their periods and so constantly need to make more blood.
If you have heavy periods you are at particular risk. Although your diet should provide all the iron you need to replace the lost blood, many women still don’t get enough.
Good dietary sources of iron include: meat, poultry, liver, fortified breakfast cereals and fresh green vegetables.
The tannin in tea can interfere with iron absorption in the gut so avoid drinking tea with meats
On the other hand vitamin C has the opposite effect, so a glass of orange juice with your steak is a good idea.
Another good idea will be iron supplements for those who do not eat balanced healthy diets
Depression appears to affect more women than men, many experts link this to the several hormonal changes that women go through during their lives.
Hormonal changes can trigger several depressive disorders for example after pregnancy the severe drop and chances in the hormones over a short period of time can cause the post partum depression also hormonal changes around the menopause can trigger depression
There are other risk factors which include:
-serious chronic illness
-types of medicines
There are lots of events and stresses in life that could cause depression, so to help reduce the risk of minor depression you have to help yourself by finding something you love to do and do it, weither it is work , sports , volunteering in charities , taking care of your family or whatever other interests you have in life.
To sum up there are a lot of physical and psychological problems that we can avoid in our lives just by few small steps that we can do , just few changes in our life style like including some healthy food and some exercises can have a huge difference on our physical and mental health
written by Sara Anwar for biomed.exalogics.com