From breast cancer to heart problems, women's health issues have caught everyone's eyes. What’s more appalling than the statistics of these diseases is that most women are reluctant to admit or feel uncomfortable when they are to talk about their health concerns. As a result of ignorance, they bear the negative effects that deteriorate their quality of life.
[Read: How Hormones affect Women]
Breast cancer is one of the most serious issues that affect women. According to World Health Organization (WHO), breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women. Owing to continuous advancements in the sphere of cancer research, the dates from breast cancer have declined drastically over the years. Although, the incidence rates of the cancer form is still on the rise. Lifestyle factors such as getting married later, having children after the age of 35, being overweight, stress and lack of activity are to be blamed for increasing incidence of breast cancer.
How to prevent: Some of the ways in which breast cancer can be prevented include maintaining a healthy body weight i.e. a BMI less than 25 throughout one’s life, minimising the consumption of alcohol, consuming as many fruits and vegetables as possible, exercising regularly and picking fatty foods wisely.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart diseases contribute about 29 % of deaths in women. This is largely because of the misdiagnosed signs and symptoms of the disease as women develop the disease differently than men. Obesity, stress, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and inactiveness are the factors that put women at greater risk of heart disease.
How to prevent: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a woman can prevent heart diseases by eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking, exercising regularly and limiting the consumption of alcohol.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
A report published in the University of Chicago Medical Center journal states that PCOS affects 10 % of women of reproductive age. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition when small cysts are formed on the ovaries during ovulation. The formation of cysts is accompanied by pain in either side of the abdomen or can even damage a woman's uterus and, thereby, her fertility. It doesn’t end here; women with PCOS are at greater risk of gaining weight, having abnormal periods, acne and excessive hair growth.
How to prevent: The occurrence of PCOS cannot be prevented , though early diagnosis can be made and treatment availed to prevent long-term complications such as metabolic syndrome, infertility, diabetes, obesity and heart diseases.
Osteoporosis can affect both men and women, but it threatens a female more. It largely affects the strength of bones leading to fractures. The risk factors of osteoporosis include age, wiry frame, ethnicity, low-calcium diet, smoking and alcohol dependence.
How to prevent: According to National Health Services, one can prevent osteoporosis with the help of regular exercising (weight-bearing exercises, resistance exercises), healthy eating, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake.
This mental condition affects women more in comparison with men mainly because of the hormonal changes (such as postpartum depression that develops post-pregnancy) and lifestyle factors. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 12 million women are affected by a depressive disorder each year compared to about 6 million men. Women need sustenance more than men and if they don't have it, they tend to get depressed.
How to prevent: Even though some forms of depression that can be treated easily, there are others that can be prevented. This is because such cases of depression are triggered by chemical malfunctioning in the brain. Studies suggest that women can prevent depression by consuming a balanced diet, exercising regularly, taking time out for recreational activities and working together with friends and family to prevent a depressed mood.
[Read: Signs of Depression in Women]
According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), about 75% of autoimmune diseases occur in women. These are the group of disorders that attacks immune system and destroys tissues. The causes of autoimmune diseases are unknown, but researchers have suggested genetic, hormonal and environmental factors to be possible suspects.
How to prevent: Since autoimmune diseases are caused by unhealthy eating habits such as an inappropriate diet one of the best ways in which the disease can be prevented is by following a strictly balanced diet, preferably one that is recommended by family dietician.
There are many health issues specific to the female anatomy and the best way in which one can fight against them is by educating themselves about the risk factors, symptoms and treatment options of the particular medical conditions.
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