Women's Health and Pregnancy
35 Case Studies
31 Member Stories
3 Research

The largest threats to women's health are often preventable. Here is what you want to learn to live a longer, healthier life. Many of the top threats to women's health can be averted if you know how.

What are common women's health problems?

The largest threats to women's health are often preventable. Here is what you want to learn to live a longer, healthier life.

Many of the top threats to women's health can be averted if you know how to take precautions and seek help.

The leading causes of death among adult women in the U.S. include cardiovascular disease, stroke, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease, Alzheimer's disease, and accidental injuries, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Take control by speaking with your doctor about your risk factors for these conditions. Then get serious about lowering your risk. If you have health problems - such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes - which increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, follow your doctor's treatment recommendations. Also, ask your doctor about when you should have mammograms and other cancer screenings.


See: Signs of diabetes in women

What are risk factors for women's health?

As you can not eliminate risk factors like family history, it is possible to control other risk factors for heart disease, cancer, and stroke. For example:

Do not smoke. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, ask your doctor to help you stop. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.

Eat a wholesome diet. Choose veggies, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods and lean sources of protein, such as fish. Limit foods high in saturated fat added sugar and sodium.

Maintain a healthy weight. Losing extra pounds -- and keeping them off -- may decrease your risk of heart disease in addition to various forms of cancer.

Physical Activity. Exercise can help you control your weight and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. It may also decrease your risk of certain kinds of cancer. Choose activities you like, from brisk walking to ballroom dancing.

Restrict alcohol. If you decide to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. For women, that means no more than one drink a day. A drink is one and a half ounces of regular 80-proof liquor, 12 oz of beer, or a five-ounce glass of wine. The possibility of various forms of cancer -- including liver and breast -- seems to increase with the amount of alcohol you consume and the amount of time you have been drinking regularly.

• Manage stress symptoms. If you feel constantly on edge or under attack, your lifestyle habits may suffer -- and so might your immune system. Take steps to decrease stress - or learn how to manage stress in healthy ways.

A wholesome lifestyle also might play a role in preventing Alzheimer's disease.

Women are more vulnerable than men to lung damage from inhaled pollutants and smoke. This puts women at higher risk of illness and even death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease -- that includes bronchitis and emphysema.

You can protect your respiratory health by not smoking and avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke. Try to minimize your exposure to substances and outdoor air pollution. Additionally, prevent respiratory infections by washing your hands frequently and getting a yearly flu vaccine. Ask your doctor if you will need a pneumonia vaccine too.

Another frequent cause of death among women is motor vehicle accidents. To remain safe on the street, wear your seat belt. Stick to the speed limit. Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or any other chemicals, and do not drive while sleepy. Do not feel overwhelmed by women's health risks. Instead, do anything you can to lead a healthy lifestyle. Simple preventive measures can go a long way toward reducing your risks.


See: Keto diet benefits for weight loss, diabetes & PCOS

What health problems are unique to women?

Women have unique health difficulties. And a number of health problems that affect both women and men can affect women differently. Particular issues include pregnancy, menopause, and terms of the female organs. Women may have a healthy pregnancy by getting early and regular prenatal care. They should also get advocated breast cancer, cervical cancer, and bone density screenings.

The health issues listed below influence women only. Various other conditions affect men too but influence women primarily or more seriously. Since women's health is so extensive, these health issues include links to access more information inside the NICHD's website.

Gynecological health and disorders affecting women include menstruation and menstrual irregularities; urinary tract health, including urinary incontinence and pelvic floor disorders; and such ailments as bacterial vaginosis, vaginitis, uterine fibroids, and vulvodynia.

Pregnancy issues include preconception care and prenatal care, pregnancy loss (miscarriage and stillbirth), preterm labor and premature birth, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), breastfeeding, and birth defects. Diseases associated with infertility include uterine fibroids, polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, and primary ovarian insufficiency.

Other disorders and conditions that affect only women include Turner syndrome, Rett syndrome, and cervical and ovarian cancers. Issues related to women's general health and wellness include violence against women, women with disabilities and their specific challenges, osteoporosis and bone health, and menopause.


See: Gestational Diabetes Meal Ideas for Women

What health problems affect women differently?

Women and men also have lots of the same health issues. However, these issues can impact women differently as the following examples illustrate.

• Women are more likely to die after a heart attack compared to men

• Women are more likely to show signs of depression and anxiety than men

• The consequences of sexually transmitted diseases can be serious in women

• Osteoarthritis affects more women than men

• Women are more likely to have urinary tract Issues

Alcohol abuse 

Countless women in the USA abuse alcohol, placing their health, safety, and overall well-being in danger. While men are more likely to become dependent on or addicted to alcohol than girls are during their lifetime, the health effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism are more serious in women. These health effects include an increased risk for breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, and fetal alcohol syndrome, where babies born to mothers who drank during pregnancy suffer brain damage and learning problems.

Heart disorder 

The leading cause of death for women in the US is heart disease. Although heart disease is also the leading cause of death for men in America, women are more likely to die following a heart attack than men are. Additionally, girls are more likely than men are to experience delays in emergency care and to have treatment to control their cholesterol levels.

Mental health

It is more likely that women show signs of depression and anxiety than men. Depression is the most common women's mental health issue, and more women than men suffer from depression each year.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Arthritis is the leading cause of physical disability in America. The condition affects millions of people in America and appears to affect more women than men.

Sexually transmitted diseases/sexually transmitted diseases (STDs/STIs) 

The impact of STDs/STIs on women can be more serious than on men. Leaving STDs/STIs untreated can lead to infertility in women. STDs/STIs often go untreated in women because symptoms are less obvious than in males or are more likely to be confused with another less severe illness, like a yeast infection.

Stress

According to a recent poll by the American Psychological Association, stress is rising for women. According to a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), stress is rising for women. Nearly 50% of women in the APA survey reported that their anxiety had increased over the previous 5 decades, compared to 39 percent of the men. Stress has unique effects on women. A new NICHD study found that anxiety might lower a woman's likelihood of getting pregnant.

Stroke

More women than men suffer a stroke annually. Although lots of the risk factors for stroke are the same for women and men, including a family history of stroke, high blood pressure, and higher cholesterol, some risk factors are unique to women. These include taking birth control pills, being pregnant, using hormone replacement therapy, a combined hormone treatment of progestin and estrogen designed to alleviate menopausal symptoms, having frequent migraine headaches, with a thick waist, especially if post-menopausal, and high triglyceride levels

Urinary tract health

Women are more likely than men are to undergo urinary tract issues. For example, urinary incontinence affects twice as many women as men because of how the female prostate gland is organized.


See: Yoga for heart disease prevention

References

1. NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

2. Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/womens-health/art-20045466?p=1

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Arthritis-related statistics. http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/arthritis_related_stats.htm

4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). 10 ways STDs impact women differently from men. http://www.cdc.gov/std/health-disparities/stds-women-042011.pdf (PDF - 222 KB)

5.  American Psychological Association. (n.d.) Gender and stress. http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/gender-stress.aspx  

6.  NIH. (2010). NIH study indicates stress may delay women getting pregnant. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/releases/Pages/081110-stress-delay-women-getting-pregnant.aspx

7. National Institute of Mental Health. (2012). Women and Depression: Discovering Hope.  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/women-and-depression-discovering-hope/complete-index.shtml

8. National Stroke Association. (n.d.) Women and stroke.  http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/impact-stroke/women-and-stroke  

9.  National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. (2010). Urinary incontinence in women. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/uiwomen/

See: Anxiety & stress in pregnancy natural remedies

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