There are five medical conditions that are of great concern to women:
1)Heart Disease 2) Breast Cancer 3)Osteoporosis 4)Depression) b
Lets look at the risk factors for each disease and ask the experts what women could do to prevent such ailments.
In order to make full use of this information, Saralyn Mark, MD, encourages women to take charge of their health. She says women need to work in partnership with their doctors by finding out their family medical history, educating themselves on health issues, and paying attention to their bodies.
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.
Although more men die of heart disease than women, females tend to be underdiagnosed, often to the point that it’s too late to help them once the condition is discovered.
“The symptoms for women are typical for women, and they are often missed by doctors and the patient themselves,
The risk factors for heart disease are:-
- Increasing age
- Heredity (including race). People with family history of the disease have greater risk. So do Asians, Africans, Mexicans, Native Americans
- High Blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Physical inactivity, Lack of Exercise
- Obesity and Over wieght
Women can reduce their risk of heart disease risk, by modifying lifestyle to include a well-balanced Diet and Exercise
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. It is second to Lung cancer as the leading cause of death for women
The fear of breast cancer can sometimes be exaggerated, stopping women from going to their doctors for screening.
The American cancer Society lists the following as risk factors for breast cancer.
- Increasing age
- Genes. Nearly 5% to 10% of breast cancer is linked to mutations in certain genes (most commonly, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes).
- Family history of the disease
- Personal history of the disease
- Race. White women have a slightly greater risk of getting breast cancer compared with African-American women. Yet African-Americans have a greater chance of dying from this disease.
- Earlier abnormal breast biopsy
- Earlier chest radiation
- Early onset of menstruation..(before age 12) or Menopause after age 55 yrs
- Not having children
- Medication use, such as diethylstilbestrol (DES)
- Too much alcohol
The older women had to accept hunched backs, back pain and frailty used to be thingsbefore doctors knew anything more about Osteoporosis. Now, there are steps women and girls can take to avoid such problems.
Osteoporosis threatens 68% of women, reports the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
“Osteoporosis is largely preventable. The behaviors that women develop in their childhood, in their adolescence, and in their early adult years really play a significant role in the development of the disease.”
That’s because bodies build up most of bone mass until age 30. Then new bone stops forming and the focus is on maintenance of old bone.
It is never too late to keep bones strong and avoid fractures.
Your own body will repair bone damage, but you have to provide the tools for it, such as adequate Calcium consumption and weight-bearing Exercise
Risk factors for osteoporosis include:
- Increasing age
- Small, thin-boned frame
- Ethnicity. White and Asian women have the greatest risk.
- Family history
- Infrequent menstrual cycles and Eastrogen loss due to Menopause ,may increase risk
- Diet low in Calcium and Vitamin D
- Medication use, particularly glucocorticoids(Cortisones), or some anticonvulsants
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Excessive alcohol
Talk to your doctor about your possible risk of osteoporosis, and what you can do to prevent problems.
Depression appears to affect more women than men. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that about 12 million women are affected by a depressive disorder each year compared to about 6 million men
Dorreen Lynn, PhD, a Psychologist and author of Getting Sane Without Going Crazy, says women need a connection with others in their lives.
“They need that sustenance,” says Lynn. “If they don’t have it, they tend to get depressed.”
Sometimes, hormonal changes can also trigger the condition, particularly after Pregnancy (postpartum) or around menopause.
Other risk factors for Depression include:
- A previous depressive episode
- Family history of depression
- History of heart problems
- Serious chronic illness
- Marital problems
- Substance use
- A stressful life event, such as job loss or death
- Diseases that could trigger depression, such as vitamin deficiency and Thyroid disease
- Recent serious illness or surgery
- Childhood history of physical or sexual abuse
- Being a worrier or being overly anxious
- Having an Eating disorder or an Anxiety disorder
To help reduce risk of depression, Lynn recommends finding a reason to get up in the morning. She says things such as work, community, love, pets, and volunteering can be good reasons.
Lynn says “Statistically, the healthiest adults, both in women and men, are people in significant caring relationships” . She says adults not in nurturing relationships can reduce their risk of depression by making efforts to reach out into the community.