The Most Important Women's Health Concerns

Updated: Nov 8

This article is provided for informative purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice.  For any health concerns or issues, you should always get medical attention from a skilled medical expert.

Introduction


Because men and women differ in many ways, there are distinct medical issues that are specific to women that require special attention in order to maximize quality of life and to prolong life wherever possible. Furthermore, women can be affected by the same ailments that are typically associated with men. These conditions, too, must be avoided or treated in order to live a long and healthy life.


A pound of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This old adage is never more true than when it comes to your health and wellness. Many diseases' risks can be considerably reduced, and in many situations, early discovery can save women's lives.


Women frequently fail to consider their health until it is too late. Women lead busy lives; they work, care for the home, children, and spouses, and frequently neglect ourselves in the process.


Imagine, however, living well into your 80s, enjoying your grandchildren, traveling, or simply having the opportunity to rest and do anything you choose in retirement, free of sickness and the risk of death from some terrible illness. Consider that there have been so many technological improvements and a plethora of knowledge in modern medicine that living such a long and healthy life is entirely doable.


Cancer of the Breast


More than one in every nine women will acquire breast cancer during their lifetime. Breast cancer is less common in women who are of normal weight. You can reduce your risks of acquiring breast cancer by exercising and eating healthy foods. There are other screenings available to help with early detection.


Cancer Screenings Are Crucial


Breast self-exam: Although there is debate about whether a breast self-exam is genuinely beneficial, it doesn't harm to examine your breasts for lumps at least once a month and to visit your doctor if something doesn't seem right.


CBE: The American Cancer Society recommends that women aged 20 to 30 have a CBE (clinical breast exam) performed by a doctor every three years. The CBE is advised once a year for everyone over the age of 40.


Mammograms: Mammograms are also recommended for women 40 and older once a year and should be continued as long as they are in excellent health.


MRI and mammogram: The American Cancer Association recommends that women who are deemed high risk for breast cancer have an MRI and a mammogram every year. In the Claus model assessment test, high risk women have a 20% to 25% or more risk of cancer based on the following criteria:


Have been found to have BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, which are human genes that create tumor suppressor proteins.

Have a first-degree relative with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, such as a parent, sibling, or kid, but have not had genetic testing.

Had chest x-rays between the ages of 10 and 30

Has Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba, Li-Fraumeni, or Cowden syndrome, or has a first-degree family who has or has had any of these syndromes?

Women having a lifetime risk of 15% or less for the above criteria are not advised to receive MRI tests for breast cancer.


Cardiovascular Disease


In the United States, heart disease is the top cause of death for both men and women. According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease accounts for 29% of all female deaths each year. The actual tragedy is that the fatalities are usually untimely, or that a heart attack results in handicap that affects quality of life, such as breathing problems while walking, using stairs, or completing any number of daily activities owing to mobility restriction. Women are statistically under diagnosed for heart disease, sometimes because both doctors and women miss the signs, which include nausea and shortness of breath.


The American Heart Association lists the following as risk factors for heart disease:


  • Growing older

  • Genetics and race: people with a family history, as well as Mexican Americans, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, African-Americans, and some Asian Americans, are at a higher risk.

  • High blood cholesterol levels

  • Blood pressure is high.

  • Smoking

  • Lack of physical activity

  • Obesity and being overweight

  • Diabetes


The key to maintaining heart health is to take action early in life, since the greatest approach to avoid heart disease is prevention. This includes implementing good lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise, and quitting smoking to minimize the overall risk of cardiac issues. It is also critical to consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the hazards outlined above, in order to seek early action and appropriate medical guidance.


Obesity


Obesity is becoming an epidemic in wealthy countries like the United States. It is preferable to avoid exceeding permissible weight limits, but if you become fat, you may always begin creating excellent food and exercise habits to lose weight at any time.


To determine whether you are overweight, divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared and multiply by 703. A value greater than 25 indicates that you are overweight, and a value greater than 30 indicates that you are obese. There are also BMI scales to help you quickly understand where you stand in terms of obesity.


Obesity is associated with a number of major health problems, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes (which has its own set of dangers), and early death. You can lose weight, and there are numerous healthy ways to do so. Seeking the advice of a nutritionist is an splendid place to begin.


Cancer of the colon


Women are diagnosed with colon cancer at roughly the same incidence as males. Most people can avoid colon cancer entirely if they have a screening colonoscopy at the age of fifty and every ten years after that. Colonoscopies can discover and remove colon cancer-causing polyps, practically eliminating the risk of developing colon cancer.


Those who have a family history of colon cancer should get their first screening colonoscopy as early as their twenties. Furthermore, diets high in fiber and low in fat can help avoid the condition.


Diabetes Type 2


Type 2 diabetes is a disorder characterized by high blood sugar levels and a number of significant complications that appear to be linked to family history and obesity. If you have a family history of diabetes, you should attempt to maintain a normal weight and have your doctor check your fasting blood sugar every 3-5 years. Even if you do not have a family history of type 2 diabetes, you can develop it if you are fat.


Consult your doctor if you have any of the following risk factors for Type 2 diabetes:


  • Over the age of 45

  • Have pre-diabetes if you are overweight or obese and have a BMI of 35 or above.

  • Have you ever had gestational diabetes?

  • Have relatives with type 2 diabetes?

  • You don't get enough exercise.

  • Have low levels of good (HDL) or high levels of poor (LDL) cholesterol

  • Have you got high blood pressure?


African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders are examples of specific racial or ethnic groups.


Cervical Carcinoma


Cervical cancer can strike women at any age, but it is most common in their twenties and becomes less common as they reach their seventies. Cervical cancer can be prevented in part by getting vaccinated as early as your teens against various types of human papillomavirus, or HPV.


Cervical cancer is known to be increased by HPV infection in the genitals and cervix. In addition, women should have routine pap tests performed by their doctor; the US Preventive Services Task Force advises screening for cervical cancer with a Pap smear every three years in women aged 21 to 65 years. This entails scraping cervical cells and examining them under a microscope for precancerous alterations. If you are 30 or older, your doctor may recommend a Pap smear along with a human papillomavirus (HPV) test every 5 years.


In conclusion


Remember that you do not have to be a victim of these health issues. Regular screening for some of these diseases and prevention through a good diet and exercise regimen can help you stay healthy for many years to come.