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Top Women's Health Issues (And How to Prevent Them)

Posted by Orange Insoles on

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It’s hard to fight an enemy you don’t know. The same could be said about our health. It’s hard to prevent an illness if you don’t know what you’re most at risk for. 
While everyone will be different, there are certain health issues that can impact women more than others. Staying healthy as a woman means more than just getting screened for breath cancer (even though that’s SUPER important). 
Prevention starts with education so here are some of the top women’s health issues. 

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading killer of both men and women. In women, the condition is responsible for about 29% of deaths, reports the CDC.
"There are far too many women dying of heart disease in their 60s, when no one expects to die because that's too young in this country," says Cindy Pearson, executive director of the National Women’s Health Network. "There are (also) women, who, for many years, are really ill with heart disease -- being out of breath, not being able to walk up one flight of stairs … because heart disease impairs their ability to get around."
Heart disease can be deadly in women because it’s harder to diagnose. It’s harder because it might not present as chest pain. Heart disease in women can present as jaw pain, shortness of breath, shoulder aches, or nausea and vomiting. 
Pearson makes a good point because while heart disease isn’t always deadly, in can significantly impact your quality of life. 
To prevent heart disease you should know the symptoms, but also the risk factors:
  • Smoking 
  • Diabetes 
  • Heredity (if you have a family history of heart disease, see your doctor!) 
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol 
  • Overweight
  • Physical inactivity 

Stroke

More women than men have strokes and strokes kill twice as many women as breast cancer. Why? The risk for stroke increases with age and women live longer than men. Also, most people don’t know the risk factors or signs of a stroke. 
Risk factors:
  • High blood pressure 
  • Certain birth controls (especially if you smoke)
  • Depression
  • Obesity 
  • Diabetes 
  • High sodium diet 
  • Smoking
Strokes are both preventable and treatable…if you catch them early. Don’t let a stroke take your life or significantly diminish your quality of life. Watch for these signs. 
You can remember the signs of a stroke using the word FAST.
F: Face drooping
A: Arm weakness 
S: Speech difficulty
T: Time to call 911 
If you’re with someone you can only smile with one side of their mouth or who is having trouble getting out a simple sentence, call 911 immediately. 

Obesity

While being overweight is not a health problem in and of itself, the complications that can come from it can be big problems. We already talked about strokes but being significantly overweight can increase your risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease. And, over half of all obesity cases in the United States are women. 
Watching your weight isn’t about your appearance, it’s about your health!

Depression

Women are about twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. While taking action is difficult if you’re depressed, depression is treatable and it’s important to seek help if you’re feeling any of these things;
  • Hopelessness 
  • Disinterest in hobbies, friends, or things you once loved 
  • Extreme appetite changes
  • Fatigue or sluggishness 
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Trouble concentrating or remembering things
  • Aches and pains likes headaches, cramps, or bloating
As you can see, depression doesn’t always present as just feeling sad. It’s important to know and understand your body and to be aware of your thoughts and feelings. If you think something is wrong but you’re not sure, get help. And make sure you’re taking care of your mental health. 

Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women and while it’s scary to think about, there are a lot of treatments for breast cancer if it’s caught early…so get screened! 
While we tend to think of breast cancer when we think about health issues in women, lung cancer is actually the number one cancer killer in the US and kills more women than breast, ovarian, and cervical cancer combined.
But don’t forget skin cancer—it’s the most common top of cancer in the United States.
While it may not seem like there is much you can do to prevent cancer, or some of these health issues, living a healthy lifestyle goes a long way. Many of these conditions feed into each other so being on the lookout for any of them can help prevent others. To stay happy and healthy make sure you; 
  • Eat right
  • Exercise regularly 
  • Spend time doing things you love 
  • Don’t smoke (or quit!) 
  • Drink only in moderation (or not at all)
  • Pay attention to food labels (some foods seem healthy but might not be)
  • Wear sunscreen 
  • See your doctor regularly 
  • Pay attention to your body 
  • Meditate (this will help your blood pressure!)
  • Be open and honest about how you’re feeling 
You don’t have to turn into a fitness buff to be healthy. Living a healthy lifestyle can happen by making small changes to your diet, routine, and health. Some illnesses might happen no matter what, but if you’re healthy, happy, and mentally strong, you can be prepared to face them! 

Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. If you experience persistent pain, consult your healthcare provider.


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