Take Control of your Health with Prevention and Screenings
There are specific health issues unique to women that need special attention in order to maximize quality and prolong life when possible. Women can suffer from some diseases that are associated with men. These medical conditions must be prevented or managed in order to attain a maximum healthy lifetime.
Women often neglect to consider their health, until it’s too late due to the fact that women have a busy life schedule ranging from taking care of the home, kids, and spouses, going to work and neglect themselves in the process. Risks for many diseases can be decreased greatly if detected early and can save women’s lives.
Imagine living a long life, enjoying your kids and grandkids, traveling to places of your choice, healthy into your 80s, having the time to relax and do whatever you want in retirement age, free of sickness and risk of death from some terminal illness.
Considering the fact that there are many advances in technology and a wealth of knowledge in modern medicine that living such a long and healthy life is completely possible. Below are the six most important health concerns for women considered to be health risks.
1. Heart Disease
Heart disease is the number 1 leading killer of both men and women in recent times. Heart disease includes coronary artery disease and heart attack. According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease causes about 1 in every 5 female deaths in the United States.
The real tragedy is that the deaths are typically premature, or a heart attack ends in a disability that impacts the quality of life, including breathing issues while walking, using stairs, or performing any number of everyday activities due to impairment in mobility.
Statistically, women are underdiagnosed when it comes to heart disease, often because both doctors and the women themselves miss the symptoms, which include sharp chest pain or discomfort, pain in the neck, jaw, or throat, pain in the upper abdomen or back, nausea, and shortness of breath.
Risk Factors That Contribute To Heart Disease include:
- Genetics and race: those with a family history are at higher risk
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Lack of exercise
- Overweight and obesity
- Unhealthy diet
- Excess alcohol intake
Maintaining a healthy heart is to take action early in life because prevention is the best way to avoid heart disease. This means making healthy lifestyle choices like diet, exercise, know your blood pressure, checking your blood cholesterol, limit much intake of alcohol, cope with stress “Learn more how stress impacts your body and brain“ and quit smoking to reduce the risks for heart-related problems. It is also important to talk with your doctor if you have any of the risks listed above to seek early intervention and appropriate medical advice.
Maintaining heart health is to take action early in life because prevention is the best solution to avoid any type of heart disease. This involves healthy lifestyle choices for example diet, exercise and avoid smoking to reduce the overall risks for heart-related problems. It is important to speak with your family doctor if you experience any of the risks listed above to seek early intervention and appropriate medical advice.
2. Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women globally. The condition is prevalent among females in the developed and developing world. Breast cancer incidence is increasing in the female population in the developing world due to increased life expectancy and the adoption of western lifestyles.
Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts, is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. As it grows, breast cancer can cause changes in how the breast looks and feels. There are screenings that can aid in early detection.
The Important Breast Cancer Screenings
Breast Self-exam: Done by women themselves. There is controversy as to whether or not a breast self-exam is truly of benefit; however, it doesn’t hurt to check your breasts for lumps at least once a month and to see your doctor if something doesn’t feel right.
Clinical Breast Exam: This is a physical examination of the breast done by a certified health professional.
Note: According to the American Cancer Society (ACS) no longer recommends a clinical breast exam (CBE) as a screening method for women in the U.S. Breast self-exam is also no longer recommended as an option for women of any age.
Mammograms: Annual screening are recommended for women at age 45 instead of age 40 as recommended by the American Cancer Society (ACS) in the United States and should continue as long as they are in good health. But Women ages 40 to 44 can choose to begin getting mammograms yearly if they want to.
American Cancer Society (ACS) committee also concluded that women should move to screening every 2 years starting at age 55. The guideline also says women may choose to continue screening every year after age 55 based on their preferences.
MRI and Mammogram: Women who are considered high risk for breast cancer are advised by the American Cancer Association to get an MRI and a mammogram every year, starting at the age of 30. High risk includes women who:
- have a 20% to 25% or greater risk for cancer, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history
- Have tested positive for the presence of BRCA1 or BRCA2, both of which are human genes that produce tumor suppressor proteins
- Have a first-degree relative, such as a parent, sibling, or child with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, but have not had any genetic testing themselves
- Had x-rays to the chest at any age between 10 and 30
- Has been diagnosed with Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba, Li-Fraumeni or Cowden syndrome or have any first-degree relative(s) who has or had any of these syndromes
Those women with a lifetime risk of less than 15% for the criteria above are not recommended to do MRI screenings for breast cancer.
Obesity is an excessive amount of body fat known to be a health problem that can increase the risk of other diseases and health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and certain cancer problems.
Obesity is becoming an epidemic both in developed and developing countries, it would be a best practice to prevent your weight from ever exceeding acceptable levels, but if you become obese, you can always begin to develop good eating and exercise habits at any given time in order for you to lose weight.
You can as well find out if you are overweight or obese by applying the BMI calculator below.
A value between 18 and 25 you are a normal weight. If your BMI ranges from 25 to 30 means you are overweight. If your BMI is over 30 you’re considered obese.
Obesity poses serious medical conditions including stroke, heart disease, type2 diabetes, premature death. You can get control over your weight and can be achieved through many healthy ways such as:
- Exercise regularly, at least 3 times a week
- Cutting down consumptions of sugary and fatty foods
- Eat more of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts
- Make use of vegetable-based oils rather than animal-based fats
- Monitor your weight regularly
- Seek the guidance of a nutritionist
4. Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer occurs in the cells of a woman’s cervix which is the lower part of the uterus connecting to the vagina, cervical cancer is usually caused by infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) which can be prevented through the administering of vaccination.
HPV infection of the genitals and cervix is a known risk factor for cervical cancer. In addition, women should get routine pap tests also called Pap Smear, which is an exam a doctor uses to test for cervical cancer in women. It can also reveal changes in your cervical cells that may turn into cancer later.
Symptoms of cervical cancer may include pain during sexual intercourse, unusual vaginal bleeding after sex, between periods after menopause, unusual vaginal discharge,
When cancer has spread can lead to pelvic pain, swollen legs, difficulty in peeing, fatigue, kidney failure, unexplained weight loss and lack of appetite.
5. Colon Cancer
Women get colon cancer at about the same rate as men. Colon cancer can be completely prevented in most women who get a screening colonoscopy at the age of 50 and get screened regularly thereafter. Colonoscopies can detect and remove cancer-causing polyps of the colon, virtually eliminating the chances of getting colon cancer.
Symptoms of colon cancer include blood in the stool, abdominal pain or cramps, constipation, diarrhea or other changes in bowel habits, having a feeling that your bowel hasn’t emptied, completely unusual weight loss. weakness and reduce energy levels.
Note: some symptoms of colon cancer may be mistaken for symptoms related to the menstrual cycle. For instance, lacking energy or unusual tiredness are common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Talk to your family doctor if you regularly experience abdominal pain or fatigue that’s not related to your menstrual cycle or experiencing it for the first time.
Those with a family history of colon cancer should have their first screening colonoscopy earlier in life, In addition, diets low in fat and high in fiber can be preventative of ever getting the disease, limit the amount of alcohol in-take, Stop smoking, Exercise regularly, Maintain a healthy weight.
6. Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a condition of high blood sugar insulin resistance and a relative lack of insulin. Several serious consequences of high blood sugar that appears to be related to family history and obesity.
If you have a family history of diabetes, you should try and keep your weight in the normal range and should have your doctor check a fasting blood sugar. If you are obese, you can still get type 2 diabetes, even if you don’t have a family history.
Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes including:
Always remember that you don’t have to be a victim of these health conditions. Screening for some of these diseases on a regular basis and preventing them through a healthy diet and get started with fitness program can help you stay healthy for many years to come.
Disclaimer: This publication is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice. You should always seek medical care from a qualified medical professional for any health concerns or issues you might have.