To lead a happy, long, and fulfilled life, taking care of our minds and bodies is crucial. As women, when it comes to certain health concerns, our biological make-up has a real impact. In fact, scientists are continuing their research to establish the differences between the health needs of men and women.
With that in mind, here are some of the most prevalent health issues impacting women, as well as steps you can take to minimise your risk of getting them.
1. Heart Disease
There are an estimated 3.6 million women in the UK who live with a heart or circulatory disease. While the public generally considers heart disease more of a common issue amongst men, the condition affects both sexes nearly equally. Heart disease comprises conditions that restrict or narrow blood vessels. This can result in heart attacks, angina, and strokes. There are actions you can take to lower your risk of heart disease. This includes stopping smoking, exercising regularly, eating a heart-healthy diet, and getting good quality sleep.
Other lifestyle changes include managing stress levels and maintaining a healthy weight. If you have any concerns about heart disease, make sure to see your GP and get a health screening. Little changes can yield great results and significantly improve heart health.
It’s suggested that strokes have a greater impact on women than men. This is because women have more events and aren’t as likely to recover. A stroke is a dangerous life-threatening medical condition. Strokes arise when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. The sooner you receive treatment for a stroke, the less chance of damage happening. If you suspect that you or somebody else is having a stroke, you must call 999 straightaway and ask for an ambulance.
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There are measures you can take that can drastically reduce your risk of having a stroke. These include following a balanced diet, incorporating regular exercise into your routine, as well as following the proposed guidelines on alcohol intake. This means you should not drink more than 14 units in a week.
Endometriosis is a long-term condition that causes the tissue similar to the lining of the womb to grow in other areas, like the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Any woman of any age can get endometriosis. While the condition can have a significant effect on your life, there are treatments that can ease symptoms. These symptoms will be different from woman to woman. However, the most common include pain in the back or lower tummy, period pain that prevents you from carrying out normal day-to-day activities, and pain during or after intercourse.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should see your GP. It may help to note down your symptoms before your appointment. Furthermore, you can check out Patient who have an in-depth guide on Endometriosis. All of their information is provided by GPs to patients during consultations. It can be challenging to officially diagnose this condition as the symptoms can vary considerably. Therefore, it’s essential you get fully examined.
4. Maternal Health Issues
If you are pregnant or planning to have a baby, there are many changes you will go through before welcoming your little one into the world. From high blood pressure to iron-deficiency anaemia, these can have an impact on your health during this time. Preconception care should be taken seriously. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, for example, you must have these conditions under control if you plan to conceive.
To have a healthy and safe pregnancy, there are steps you can follow. These include taking prenatal vitamins, exercising often, eating folate-rich foods like oranges, asparagus, and lentils, as well as seeing your GP for advice and support along the way. Of course, your priority will be on your baby as it grows in the womb, so if you have any questions or need clarification, don’t hesitate to speak to a medical professional.
5. Urinary Tract Infections
A urinary tract infection (UTI) happens when germs get into the urethra and begin multiplying. UTIs are particularly common in women. This is because women have a shorter urethra when compared to men. This also decreases the length bacteria must travel in order to get to the bladder. Common symptoms of UTIs include a strong, persistent urge to urinate, burning sensations when urinating and urine that appears cloudy.
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Some of the best ways to prevent UTIs from occurring in the first place include drinking lots of fluids, especially water. You can also try cranberry juice which may help. Other suggestions include emptying your bladder quickly after intercourse, changing your birth control method, and ensuring you wipe from front to back.
6. Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK. Most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are aged 50 and above. However, younger women can get breast cancer too. Roughly 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. It must be noted that men can get breast cancer too. If breast cancer is detected early, there is a great chance of recovery.
It is vital that you check your breasts regularly for any changes. Should you notice anything unusual, don’t delay getting examined by your GP. Symptoms to look out for include a change in the shape or size of one or both breasts, swelling or lumps in either of the armpits, dimpling on the skin of your breast, and discharge from your nipples that may have blood in it.
Osteoporosis causes the bones to become more fragile and weaker. When you’re a young adult, your bones will be at their strongest and thickest. However, after you reach the age of 35, you will gradually begin to lose bone. This is normal and happens to everyone. However, some individuals develop osteoporosis and lose bone far quicker than normal.
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While osteoporosis affects men, women are at a higher risk of developing it. This is because the hormone changes that occur during the menopause have a direct effect on bone density. Other factors can increase your risk of osteoporosis, such as if you have an overactive thyroid gland, a body mass index of 19 or less, as well as a family history of osteoporosis.
In the rare instance, you’ve had your ovaries removed before puberty, most women will go through menopause. Menopause is defined as not having any more periods, and not being able to get pregnant naturally. Periods normally begin to become less frequent over several months or years before they stop entirely.
Menopause is a natural and normal part of aging that normally happens between the ages of 45 and 55. Common menopausal symptoms include night sweats, hot flushes, vaginal dryness, and difficulty sleeping. Other symptoms include anxiety, a reduced sex drive, and low mood.
Although both men and women contract numerous conditions, there are some health issues that affect women differently and more commonly.
Expanding your knowledge of the health concerns above can only be a good thing. Should you experience any of them, you’ll have a better understanding of the condition and what strategies to take to seek advice and treatment.