Modern science and medicine have made great strides in addressing numerous health issues, including many that affect women and men. However, the sad reality is that even with as advanced as our science has become, some medical conditions still remain potentially quite dangerous, and often difficult to treat.
While there’s no doubt that both women and men have health issues in this category, women suffer from several high-profile examples. Here are 7 of the top health issues women are facing today.
1). Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease is sometimes portrayed as a man’s issue, but nothing could be farther from the truth: it is the foremost cause of death among women worldwide.
As Deer Park urgent care providers Community 1st ER explain, “We encourage women and men both to pay attention to things like chest pains. Don’t hesitate to get medical advice if you think you might have a heart health issue – it could save your life.”
Cardiovascular disease is a problem for women as well as for men all around the world, but women in developing countries usually have a higher risk of dying from it when they develop it, as opposed to their sisters in developed countries.
2). Fertility Issues
There’s a good chance you know, or have known, a couple with fertility issues. They’re surprisingly common: according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), some 10% of all women between the ages of 15 and 44 have trouble with becoming pregnant and/or with staying pregnant.
Two common causes for infertility are endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). However, in many other cases there is no explanation, at least not with present medical knowledge.
3). Breast Cancer
Breast cancer has the tragic distinction of being the most common type of cancer among women, irrespective of age and across all racial groups. There are a variety of factors which can contribute to this cancer, which typically starts in the milk ducts and spreads, but sadly the main factor is being an aging woman.
There are tests which can show a woman if she has a mutation that could lead to breast cancer. Understanding the risk can help with planning accordingly. It is also a good idea to start getting mammograms at age 40, or earlier if recommended by a doctor – particularly if two or more women in your family have been diagnosed with this form of cancer.
4). Ovarian & Cervical Cancer
Both ovarian and cervical cancer cause similar pains, but are quite distinct. Cervical cancer is cancer that begins in the lower uterus. It can be detected by a Pap smear, and will cause discharge and pain during intercourse.
Ovarian cancer, on the other hand, starts in the fallopian tubes and is quite complex. Symptoms may include swollen or bloated abdomen, persistent pressure or pain in the abdomen or pelvis, and others.
Osteoporosis does affect both women and men, but is largely a women’s issue: about 68% of those at risk are female. Women can maintain bone mass and strength by developing good habits in childhood or adolescence and maintaining them through adulthood.
Healthy eating, with adequate calcium intake, can help to prevent osteoporosis. So can an active lifestyle and avoiding smoking or excessive alcohol consumption.
6). Autoimmune Illnesses
Some 75% of autoimmune sufferers are women. These diseases are genetic and tend to occur within clusters, such that women in the same family may suffer from autoimmune disease even if they do not suffer from the same disease.
Autoimmune diseases are characterized by immune cells attacking healthy cells. They often include symptoms such as exhaustion, mild fever, pain, skin irritation, and vertigo.
Early detection is the best defense against autoimmune disease. Some practices that may be able to help include reduced sugar consumption, reduced fat consumption, lowering stress levels, and reducing intake of toxins.
7). Mental Health Issues
Depression and anxiety are issues that affect women more frequently than men. A key reason for this seems to be hormones, since natural hormonal fluctuations are responsible for much depression and anxiety.
Premenstrual symptom (PMS) in particular is a noted common cause of depression and anxiety. The more extreme condition of premenstrual dysmorphic disorder (PMDD) causes similar symptoms, but much worse.
Women who give birth may also have a form of depression called “baby blues”, with emotional shifts, sadness, and feelings of tiredness. Perimenopause, the shift into menopause, is a common cause of depression among women as well.
Prescriptions and various therapies can help with these conditions, so don’t be afraid to talk to your care provider.
While there have been great strides in modern medicine, the 7 issues described here are still some of the top issues women face. Of these 7, osteoporosis is usually quite easy to prevent, but most of the others are difficult. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your risk or about symptoms: early detection and prevention are important for maintaining good health.