Women have unique health needs at every stage of their lives—from adolescence and puberty to motherhood and menopause. Did you know women have a higher risk for developing heart disease, thyroid issues, certain cancers and stroke than men? And most diseases and conditions affect women differently than men?
Regular health check ups and preventive health screens are essential for women throughout their entire life, that’s why it’s so important to partner with a doctor you trust and with whom you feel comfortable sharing intimate details about your life.
Ten Women’s Health Issues You Need to Know
Here are ten important women’s health issues you need to know:
1. Heart disease
All women face the risk of heart disease. In fact, it’s the main health condition threatening their health today. Unfortunately, it frequently goes undiagnosed as women often mistake heart attack signs as symptoms of heartburn.
2. Breast cancer
Breast cancer is the most aggressive type of cancer affecting women worldwide. Annual physical exams are the best way to detect breast cancer early and treat it before it has a chance to spread.
3. Ovarian and cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is the only gynecologic cancer that can be prevented with routine screening. So it’s important to visit your doctor at least once a year for a check up. Diagnosing ovarian cancer requires a transvaginal ultrasound and the CA-125 blood test. If you have a family history of ovarian cancer, be sure to ask your doctor about these tests.
4. Gynecological health
Cramping, bleeding and discharge are all normal parts of the menstrual cycle, however unusual or sudden symptoms may indicate more serious health concerns. If you experience atypical symptoms during menstruation it’s important to seek medical care right away. Untreated infections can lead to much larger health issues like infertility or kidney failure.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition like asthma, diabetes or depression it’s important to understand that these can worsen during pregnancy. They can also cause harm to the mother and her baby if not managed properly by a medical professional.
6. Autoimmune diseases
Almost all autoimmune diseases affect women more often than men. The most common autoimmune diseases in women include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, lupus and thyroid disease. The most common symptoms of many autoimmune diseases include fatigue, muscle aches, swelling, redness, low-grade fever, hair loss, skin rashes, trouble concentrating and numbness in the hands and feet.
Diabetes is a serious health issue that affects nearly 13 million women ages 20 years and older. Diabetes also increases the risk of heart disease by about four times in women, but only two times in men. Women are also at a higher risk of other diabetes-related complications like blindness, kidney disease and depression.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a serious threat to women’s health as it accounts for as much as five percent of all female deaths. COPD diminishes women’s quality of life by causing shortness of breath and limiting their ability to stay active.
9. Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative brain disorder that is responsible for approximately four percent of all female deaths each year. While it often starts with simple forgetfulness and confusion, it eventually leads to irreversible mental impairment.
10. Depression and anxiety
Women are more prone to psychiatric disorders, like anxiety and depression, during their lifetime than men. This is caused by differences in brain chemistry and hormone fluctuations. Reproductive events during a woman’s life are often associated with hormonal changes and anxiety.
If you’d like to learn more about women’s health issues or schedule an appointment, call the skilled specialists at Bay Area Physicians at 251-344-5900. We are dedicated to helping you be as healthy as you possibly can.