Major health issues seem to strike at the worst times. But when it comes to preventing women’s health issues, awareness is critically important. Here are a few women’s health issues you should know about.
1. Breast Cancer
Most people are well aware of breast cancer already. Most doctors recommend that you start getting mammograms at about the age of 40, though they might suggest getting them sooner if you have a family history of cancer. If you’re below the age of 40, you should still be vigilant.
Carefully examine your breasts each month, looking for changes. If there are any new lumps, unexpected pain, or skin changes, tell your doctor. Breast cancer isn’t the only possible cause of breast changes. But if you do have cancer, your odds of successful treatment are much greater when you catch it sooner.
2. Heart Disease
Heart disease is the top cause of death in women. Despite that fact, many people don’t know much about it at all. The term “heart disease” actually covers a range of conditions, including coronary artery disease, issues with the heart valves or muscles, and even irregular heartbeats.
One of the more common types of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD). It’s usually caused by buildups of cholesterol, called plaques, in the arteries near the heart. The plaques restrict blood flow and can cause shortness of breath, strokes, or heart attacks.
Commonly, people don’t know they have coronary artery disease until they suffer a heart attack or stroke. Early warning signs of the disease are often different for men and women. Men typically have chest pain, but women more often have shortness of breath, nausea, and extreme fatigue along with chest discomfort.
3. Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths in the uterus. Small fibroids usually don’t cause symptoms, and you may not know they’re there. Larger fibroids can expand your uterus and cause pain and heavy menstrual bleeding.
Fortunately, uterine fibroids are relatively easy to treat. If you’ve been diagnosed with fibroids, seek out uterine fibroid treatment in Memphis, TN, or an area near you. Treatment depends on how severe your condition is. Some fibroids can be treated with medication. Others can be treated with procedures called embolization or ablation. In very severe cases, you might need surgery.
Osteoporosis is a weakening of your bones that happens when your body breaks down bone tissue more than it builds it. This condition can affect anyone, but post-menopausal women are at especially high risk. Estrogen helps you maintain bone mass, and since estrogen levels drop in menopause, your bones can become weaker.
Exercising and making sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet can lower your risk of osteoporosis. If you’re reaching menopause and want to make sure you don’t develop osteoporosis, make an appointment to talk to your doctor. If you’re post-menopausal and have developed a stooping posture, have severe unexplained back pain, or have bones that seem to break unusually easily, it’s also a good idea to make an appointment.
You likely already know that there are a few different types of diabetes. But for women, developing diabetes quadruples the risk of heart disease. Type I diabetes is genetic. But you can minimize your risk of developing type II diabetes by staying at a healthy weight and leading a generally healthy lifestyle.
That being said, pregnant women may develop another kind of diabetes altogether: gestational diabetes. In gestational diabetes, your blood sugar rises to dangerously high levels when you’re pregnant. This condition can also harm both you and your baby. It increases your risk of preeclampsia and may predispose you to develop type II diabetes in the future. Your baby may have serious trouble breathing, be born with low blood sugar, and have a higher risk of becoming obese and developing type II diabetes in the future.
Reading about health conditions can be alarming, but it’s important to have some basic knowledge of conditions that often face women. When you know what to look for, you’ll be able to see a doctor and treat any issues before they worsen.
Author: Hannah Boothe
Hannah Boothe is a freelance writer native to Northern California who spends her free time developing herself. Hannah enjoys the outdoors, she goes hiking whenever the weather permits and enjoys practicing yoga. She carves out time to journal and read whenever she can. She loves adventure and connecting with those around her.