A couple months ago, we posted an article that took a closer look at top men’s health issues. Now, we’re doing the same for women! Women and men are biologically predisposed to different types of health issues, so we can’t assume that top health issues for men will be the same for women, or vice versa. It’s incredibly important to get familiar with these women’s health issues so that you are prepared for what could happen either to you or a loved one at some point in life.
According to the CDC, heart disease accounts for around 29% of all female deaths annually—that’s more than all forms of cancer combined! Heart disease can mean a lot of things, so you’ll want to talk to your doctor about what it can mean for you and what your individual risk factors are. However, simple things that you can do to reduce your risk of heart problems are exercising regularly, eating a heart-healthy diet, and not smoking. Speak with your doctor to create a heart-smart plan that works for you.
After heart disease, cancer is the second leading women’s health issue, responsible for 22% of female deaths annually. Breast and lung cancer are the two leading types of cancer for women to develop.
Adopting simple, healthier habits in your everyday life can prevent a large amount of cancers. For example, not smoking (or quitting smoking, if you have that habit) greatly reduces your risk for developing lung cancer. And when it comes to breast cancer, things you can do to lower your risk include controlling your weight, exercising, and quitting smoking. It’s also extremely important to get screened regularly for breast cancer, even if you feel like you would never get it. Speak to your doctor to further discuss your individual health habits and how you can make positive changes in your life.
Like with aging men, older women are at a higher risk for stroke. Women are at a higher risk of stroke than men are, however. Women make up about 60% of stroke-related deaths each year. Strokes can vary in severity, from relatively mild to very severe, even impairing basic motor functions. Stroke symptoms are often a bit different for women than they are for men, however. See our blog post on stroke warning signs (INSERT LINK HERE) for more information and for tips on lifestyle changes you can make to hopefully avoid a stroke.
Osteoporosis brings with it a slew of uncomfortable side effects—a hunched back, frailty, and back pain, for example. However, there are things you can do in your youth, middle ages, and older years to help prevent or ease the side effects of osteoporosis. Because osteoporosis results from weakening bones, it’s important to do things that help strengthen your bones. This includes getting active and limiting the time you spend sedentary, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol intake.
Depression shows up more often in women than it does in men. Depression—and every mental health issue, really—is an extremely complex topic, and there’s not one single thing that you can do that will guarantee that you will not become depressed. But a couple things that may help you fight against the onset of depression include developing meaningful connections to others around you and finding worth in something, like work, a hobby, or a pet. Feeling like you are meaningfully connected to your surroundings and other people helps build a strong social and emotional foundation. But even still, depression can affect anyone. See our article on mental health in aging adults (INSERT LINK HERE) for more information about mental health issues for older adults, resources, and more.
Other issues—like pregnancy-related complications, menopause, and cervical cancer—only affect women. These female-specific health issues all have slightly different prevention/deterrence methods, but it mainly boils down to adopting a healthier lifestyle and keeping up regular doctor’s appointments. Many issues can be prevented by regular exercise, healthy eating, and avoiding harmful substances. These healthy lifestyle choices paired with regular doctor’s visits is the best way you can stay happy and healthy throughout your life.
While this is by no means a comprehensive list, we hope this article has given you some insight into a few common health issues for women. The bottom line is that keeping up a healthy lifestyle and visiting your doctor regularly are the best ways to prevent these types of health issues. Being healthy and keeping up with the doctor doesn’t guarantee that you’ll never have any health complications, but it does contribute to a happy, healthier life.
What are your favorite ways to stay healthy? Do you or a loved one close to you have any experiences with the issues discussed above? Tell us your experiences in the comments below. We love hearing from you! You all are the backbone of our SkyBlue community—thank you for being a part of our little family. Have a great week!
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- Women’s Top 5 Health Concerns
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