As we begin the second quarter of 2021, it’s a good time to learn more about women’s health. Last year was a difficult time for everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic presented new medical risks for people around the world. Now, as many areas start to return to normal, it’s important to remember the importance of taking care of your overall health.
The following list will help you learn more about women’s health this year.
The Number 1 Killer of Women is Heart Disease
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists heart disease as the leading killer of women. The term refers to several conditions, including heart attack and coronary artery disease. Despite efforts to spread awareness, the CDC found that only about 56% of women know that heart disease is the number one risk for their gender. About one in 16 women have coronary heart disease.
Some people have no symptoms while others report pain in the neck, jaw, or throat and dull, heavy, or sharp pain in the chest. Heart disease can also cause pain in the upper abdomen and back as well as nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.
Your risk of heart disease is increased if you have diabetes, are physically inactive, drink too much alcohol, eat an unhealthy diet, or are obese.
Schedule Your Cancer Screenings Now
Cancer falls second on the list of causes of death for women. Cervical and breast cancer are two of the most common types.
Early detection gives the patient the best chance at survival. It can also result in a higher quality of life and less stress for the patient and their loved ones and caregivers. That’s why regular screenings are so important.
The CDC recommends that women ages 21 to 29 get a Pap test once every three years when no abnormalities are present. Women ages 30 to 65 should follow the same schedule unless their doctor says otherwise. This is also a good time to start getting HPV tests.
Women ages 40 to 44 can begin getting mammograms. Those over age 55 are advised to have a screening done once every one to two years.
It is best to consult your doctor to come up with a cancer screening schedule that works best for you.
Tobacco Companies Are Targeting Young Women
Even though smoking rates are around 10 times higher for men than women, tobacco companies are looking for new markets. They have started targeting younger women.
Their efforts have had an impact because the number of young women who smoke in developing countries is increasing rapidly. Women also tend to have less success when trying to quit and more relapses.
Smoking is a women’s health issue. It can lead to reduced fertility and an increased risk of cervical cancer. Nearly all lung cancer cases are caused by smoking cigarettes. The habit can also cause cardiovascular disease, which is already a big risk for women.
Asthma Occurs More Often in Women Over 40
At a younger age, asthma is predominantly diagnosed in boys at a ratio of two to one. However, after puberty, women are at a greater risk. Most cases of adult-onset asthma are female patients over age 40.
Hormone levels change during a women’s menstrual cycle, which can cause asthma symptoms to worsen. If you are diagnosed with this condition, you should inform your doctor of any changes or difficulties during menstruation.
Autoimmune Disease is More Common in Women
Many autoimmune diseases are more common in women than men. Around 90% of adults who have lupus are women between the ages of 15 and 44.
Women are also two to three times more likely to develop multiple sclerosis. They are five to eight times more likely to experience thyroid problems that are related to autoimmune conditions. Grave’s disease is diagnosed in seven times more women than men. And around 75% of rheumatoid arthritis patients are women.
You can lower your risk of autoimmune disease by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and avoiding environmental toxins. Make sure your diet is rich in anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, herbs, and plant-based proteins.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Affects More Women
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastrointestinal disorders are more likely to affect women than men. A study suggested that nerve cells that control food movement through the intestines are more sluggish to respond to brain input in women than men.
Common symptoms of IBS include diarrhea, constipation, urinary incontinence, bloating, chronic pelvic pain, worsened menstrual symptoms, painful intercourse, and pelvic organ prolapse.
Women with IBS should be aware of food triggers that can lead to symptoms. These include processed foods, coffee, carbonated beverages, refined grains, alcohol, dairy, and high-protein diets.
Hormones Can Cause Headaches in Women
Fluctuations in estrogen levels can contribute to chronic headaches and migraines in women. In childhood, these problems are more common in boys. After puberty, much like asthma, women become the higher-risk demographic.
Estrogen is commonly associated with the reproductive system. It also controls chemicals that influence the way pain is felt. Lowered estrogen levels can cause headaches that can last from four to 72 hours.
Menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and oral contraceptives influence hormone levels and can lead to headaches and migraines. Other triggers include anxiety, sleep patterns, diet, physical activity, and medications.
Complete Women’s Healthcare is available to help you plan for a long, healthy life. Contact us to schedule a screening or to discuss a women’s health concern.