Sunday, June 5, 2016
With children to raise, a house to run and work, it's difficult for women to slow down and relax, let alone take a moment to think about their health. There are various problems that can affect health, so it’s best to educate yourself and become more aware of potential health concerns, especially those that are more likely to affect women; it could even save your life!
Cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest killers of women across the globe - 1 in 4 women die as a result, and the risk rises after the menopause. The two primary forms of heart disease that affect women are Coronary Microvascular Disease (MVD), which causes damage and disease to the heart’s tiny arteries, and Broken Heart Syndrome, medically known as Stress-induced Cardiomyopathy, which is caused by extreme emotional stress which leads to severe, but often short-term heart muscle failure.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the most common health issues, due to our lifestyle choices, as they have the biggest impact on the disease. The risk of heart disease is massively increased due to smoking, alcohol, unhealthy diets, lack of exercise and excessive stress. The easiest way to prevent heart disease is by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Women can pay more attention to their bodies by being more aware of the signs and symptoms of heart disease, such as shortness of breath, nausea, and joint pain. Also, by managing stress and keeping a close eye on cholesterol and blood pressure levels, early intervention is the best way to help prevent cardiovascular disease.
Women have more advanced immune systems compared to men, which makes women more susceptible to autoimmune disorders, and they are three times more likely to occur in women than men. This results in immunodeficiency diseases, which decrease the body’s ability to fight infections. Our genes associated with the immune system operate differently in men and women, as they switch on differently from person to person. This abnormal activity is the reason why women are more likely to suffer from issues with the immune system such as lupus, a disease that damages the body, scleroderma, which hardens the body’s tissue and rheumatoid arthritis, which affects the joints.
It is not just our genes that can affect our immune system, so women can take preventative measures to ensure their health. Again, lifestyle factors such as smoking, lack of exercise and stress impact our whole body, so managing these decreases the risk of future problems to the immune system.
Depression is a serious and pervasive mood disorder; it’s believed that the onset of puberty in females increases the risk of depression up to two times more than males. This is related to the changes of hormones throughout a woman's lifespan, such as the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. If you feel like you may be suffering from depression, it is best to speak to your GP, knowing the signs and symptoms also increase our awareness.
Symptoms of depression include:
There can be many causes of depression such as biological and psychological factors, lifestyle choices and personality characteristics. Women that juggle busy lifestyles such as work and children can also become stressed, which is a trigger for depression.
The risk of cancer is a health concern for both men and women, but breast cancer and cervical cancer can be a serious worry for females. Breast cancer can affect all women, but it is more common in women aged over 50, as the risk increases with age. Breast cancer is not hereditary, but particular genes including BRCA1 and BRCA2 can increase your risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Breast cancer is difficult to prevent, but attending breast screening helps to catch cancer in its early stages, meaning more women can make a full recovery.
Cervical cancer tends not to have any symptoms and can affect women of all ages, but is more common in women over 25 and is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus and is not hereditary. Cervical screening prevents cervical cancer with early intervention.
Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens the bones, making it more likely to break or fracture bones. It’s extremely common in females and doesn’t present any symptoms. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and ensuring proper calcium and vitamin D intake is an excellent way to prevent the problem.
The best way to avoid these health concerns is by being aware of the risks and symptoms and taking preventive methods; a healthy lifestyle is also proven to reduce the risk of many health problems. If you have any concerns, speak to your GP today.