Men and women can suffer from the same types of diseases. But certain health conditions are unique among women. There are also diseases that affect women differently than men. The good news is, most of the health problems affecting women are highly treatable.
The best way to fight diseases is through awareness. By educating yourself of the many conditions that affect women, you take an essential step in preventing them from happening. In all your health decisions, it’s always best to work with your doctor.
Here are the top medical conditions that women should watch out for.
1. Heart Disease
Heart disease can affect both men and women. However, some factors can increase the risk among women. For instance, hormonal changes in menopausal women can cause higher blood pressure and increased cholesterol levels. When that happens, women become more susceptible to heart ailments, which may trigger heart attacks. Also, pregnancy complications can increase the likelihood of getting heart disease later in life.
Symptoms linked to heart problems include chest pains, abdominal discomfort, shortness of breath, and numbness in the arms and legs. Since heart disease is a serious health condition, it’s important to regularly visit your doctor so you can monitor your cardiovascular health. Also, living a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, and a healthy diet can help protect against heart disease.
2. Breast Cancer
This is the most common cancer and one of the leading causes of death among women. Many factors can cause this disease. The major elements that determine a woman’s susceptibility include age, family history, and even racial profile. Obesity, drinking too much alcohol, and taking certain medications can also contribute to cancer development in the breasts.
If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, experts suggest to keep your emotions in check and not lose hope. Breast cancer is not a death sentence, especially since there are many treatments available now.
Early detection is key to fighting breast cancer. A patient’s chance for complete recovery increases the earlier that the cancer is detected and treated. That’s the reason why doctors suggest regular Mammogram tests.
Women are encouraged to educate themselves about the risks of breast cancer. Awareness will allow you to make the right decisions and take the necessary actions to prevent this cancer from happening to you.
3. Cervical Cancer
This cancer grows in the cervix, which is in the lower part of the uterus linked to the vagina. Cervical cancer can be triggered by a sexually transmitted infection called the human papillomavirus (HPV). The immune system does an excellent job at fighting this virus. However, in some women, the virus may survive and trigger some cervical cells to transform into cancer cells.
A pap smear can detect the presence of pre-cancerous cervical cells. Early detection and treatment are crucial to eliminate this type of cancer. Vaccination against HPV is also effective in preventing cervical cancer.
Both sexes are susceptible to diabetes. However, diabetic women can suffer from serious complications. For one, women can experience gestational diabetes, where the glucose levels shoot up during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can cause complications during pregnancy. It can also turn into a full-blown Type 2 diabetes in the mother and negatively affect the baby’s health.
You’ll need treatment to prevent gestational diabetes from getting worse. Also, always keep your blood sugar level in check. Lastly, try to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy through a healthy diet and pregnant-safe exercises.
5. Painful Or Heavy Menstruation
Painful sensations and heavy bleeding during your monthly cycle may indicate gynecological conditions. You need to consult with your physician when you have abnormal periods.
Uterine fibroids are the usual causes of painful and heavy menstruation. These are non-cancerous tumors that can grow in women who have reached childbearing age. While uterine fibroids are usually benign, some of them can grow big enough to trigger excessive bleeding and pain during menstruation.
This condition is characterized by the weakening of the bones. Thus, people who have osteoporosis are prone to bone fractures. Unfortunately, this condition can’t be readily detected. X-rays may show bone fractures already present, but they can’t tell if a person will have osteoporosis. Doctors often recommend bone density scans to determine the levels of minerals that keep your bones healthy.
Compared to men, women have a higher risk for this disease because of the hormonal changes that negatively impact bone density. The female hormone, estrogen, plays a vital role in keeping bones healthy. But the level of estrogen in the body dramatically falls as women reach menopausal age. Hence, postmenopausal women are more susceptible to osteoporosis.
To mitigate the risks, you can increase your calcium intake and other minerals to strengthen your bones. Regular exercise, a healthy lifestyle, and losing extra weight can enhance your bone health.
7. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Women have shorter urethra compared to men. As a result, infectious bacteria can easily reach the bladder and wreak havoc, making women prone to UTI.
Patients suffering from UTI complain about frequent and painful urination as well as pelvic pain and cloudy urine. In many cases, the infection goes away without any treatment. That’s why it’s easy to overlook this condition.
Recurring infections require tests and consultation with your doctor. If left untreated, the condition could spread to the kidneys.
8. Alzheimer’s Disease
At first, scientists thought that Alzheimer’s was nothing more than a condition brought about by aging. Today, experts know that this disease is caused by changes in the brain cells that negatively affect memory and cognitive functions among patients. Alzheimer’s disease has a higher number of incidences among women than in men.
The factors that can increase your risk include menopause, hormonal replacement therapy, thyroid diseases, and hysterectomy. High blood pressure and cholesterol can also predict a person’s susceptibility to this condition.
To avoid Alzheimer’s disease, you need to boost your brain’s health. Experts suggest living a healthy and active lifestyle to keep your brain functioning at optimum levels.
Certain health conditions are unique to women because of physiology or age. Women’s health conditions can make life miserable and costly if left unmanaged.
As soon as you reach childbearing age all the way to your menopausal age, you’re susceptible to a host of diseases. Most of these conditions are not death sentences. In fact, many of them can be treated.
If you feel something is wrong with your body, the best thing to do is see a doctor. Remember, most women’s diseases can be prevented by early detection and treatment. Don’t wait for the symptoms to get worse. Like an ugly flower, you must nip the disease in the bud.