The first step to staying healthy is knowing what you’re up against, and then taking the necessary precautions to reduce your risk. Festivity and celebrations can derail us from the goal of a healthy lifestyle. If not checked it can lead to cropping up of life-threatening disease. Below are Top 10 threats to women health.
1. Heart Disease:
Heart disease contributes to more deaths among women than most forms of cancer, a university report has found. The study, conducted by the Australian Catholic University’s Mary McKillop Institute for Health, looked at the impact of heart disease on Australian women by considering not only heart attack and stroke, but also a widened analysis of associated diseases like diabetes and kidney failure. The most common heart attack symptom in women is some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But it is not always severe or even the most prominent symptom, particularly in women. And, sometimes, women may have a heart attack without chest pain. Women are more likely than men to have heart attack. Women of all ages should take heart disease seriously. Women under the age of 65, and especially those with a family history of heart disease, need to pay close attention to heart disease risk factors.
You may be surprised to learn that colon cancer is an equal opportunity offender, as the same number of women and men develop it each year. Also, the chances of being diagnosed with thyroid cancer have more than doubled in the last 20 years. Endometrial cancer is also, twice as common in overweight women, and more than three times as common in obese women, according to the American Cancer Society. Fat cells secrete estrogen, which in turn can trigger cancerous changes. It’s alarming that, lung cancer cases among women have risen a jaw-dropping 98% over the last 4 decades. After rising for more than 2 decades, the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer had begun decreasing in 2000 and has dropped by about 7% from 2002 to 2003, possibly thanks to fewer women using hormone therapy for menopause symptoms. (Since then, incidence rates have been mostly stable.) What’s more, breast cancer that’s caught in the earliest stages now has a 5-year survival rate of nearly 100%. Cancer, be it of thyroid, endometrium, lungs or breast has engulfed the women population.
This is the third leading cause of death for women (in comparison, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death for men). In general women live longer than men, thus stroke is bound to have a more negative impact on their lives. More women will, live alone when they have a stroke, be more likely to live in a long term health care facility after a stroke and have a worse recovery after stroke. Use of birth control pills, pregnancy, history of preeclampsia/eclampsia or gestational diabetes, oral contraceptive use, and smoking, and post-menopausal hormone therapy may pose special stroke risks for women. Be sure to discuss your specific risks with your doctor. Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) are “warning strokes” that produce stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. TIAs are strong predictors of stroke. A person who’s had one or more TIAs is almost 10 times more likely to have a stroke than someone of the same age and sex who hasn’t. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce your risk of a major stroke. TIA should be considered a medical emergency and followed up immediately with a healthcare professional. If you’ve had a heart attack, you’re at higher risk of having a stroke, too.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a lung disease that is characterized by a persistent reduction of airflow. The symptoms of COPD are progressively worsening and persistent breathlessness on exertion, eventually leading to breathlessness at rest. It tends to be underdiagnosed and can be lifethreatening. The more familiar terms “chronic bronchitis” and “emphysema” have often been used as labels for the condition. The primary cause of COPD is tobacco smoke (including secondhand or passive exposure) with other risk factors like, indoor air pollution (such as solid fuel used for cooking and heating), outdoor air pollution, occupational dusts and chemicals (such as vapours, irritants, and fumes), frequent lower respiratory infections during childhood. The disease is not curable. However, available medical and physical treatments can help relieve symptoms, improve exercise capacity and quality of life and reduce the risk of death. The most effective and cost-effective available treatment for COPD is smoking cessation. Smoking cessation can slow down the progress of the disease in smokers and decrease COPD-related deaths. In some, but not all, people with COPD, treatment with inhaled corticosteroid medicines has a beneficial effect.
5. Alzheimer’s Disease:
While Alzheimer’s is indiscriminate and affects people from all walks of life, recent studies has found that women are bearing a disproportionate amount of the Alzheimer’s burden. Aside from the fact that 60% of all Alzheimer’s caregivers are women, at the age of 65, women have a 1 in 6 chance of developing Alzheimer’s, compared to a 1 in 11 chance for men. Additionally, out of the 5 million people living with Alzheimer’s in the U.S., 3.2 million are women. Research has found that women in their 60s are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than to develop breast cancer. Three studies presented in July 2015 at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington, D.C., highlighted the greater vulnerability of women’s brains, Researchers found that memory and thinking skills in women with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) declined twice as quickly as they did in men. MCI refers to a slight but measurable decline in cognitive abilities, which include memory and thinking skills. People with MCI can still live independently, but they have a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Another, study at Oregon Health & Science University suggested that older women have a higher risk of experiencing cognitive dysfunction after undergoing surgery with general anesthesia than older men do. In addition, among people with post-operative cognitive dysfunction, the study found that women declined more rapidly than men. A third study examined levels of amyloid plaques, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, in the brains of people across a range of cognitive ability, from normal to Alzheimer’s disease.
6. Unintentional Injuries:
Unexpected falls or accidents are a major public health problem. An estimated 424 000 fatal falls occur each year, making it the second leading cause of unintentional injury death, after road traffic injuries. Over 80% of fall-related fatalities occur in low- and middle-income countries, with regions of the Western Pacific and South East Asia accounting for more than two thirds of these deaths. In all regions of the world, death rates are highest among adults over the age of 60 years. Promising prevention strategies include: use of guard rails/gates, home visitation programmes, mass public education campaigns, and training of individuals and communities in appropriate acute pediatric medical care should a fall occur.
In the US, 9.7 million women have diabetes which can be especially hard on women. The burden of diabetes on women is unique, because the disease can affect both mothers and their unborn children. Diabetes can cause difficulties during pregnancy such as a miscarriage or a baby born with birth defects. Women with diabetes are also more likely to have a heart attack, and at a younger age, than women without diabetes. It has no cure. For women who do not currently have diabetes, pregnancy brings the risk of gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes develops in 2% to 5% of all pregnancies but disappears when a pregnancy is over. Women who have had gestational diabetes or have given birth to a baby weighting more than 9 pounds are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Women of minority racial and ethnic groups are two to four times more likely than non-Hispanic white women to have type 2 diabetes. Because women make up a greater proportion of the elderly population and women with diabetes live longer than their male counterparts, elderly women with diabetes outnumber elderly men with diabetes. Diabetes is one of the leading underlying causes of death among women aged 65 years and older.
8. Influenza and Pneumonia:
Influenza, or the flu , is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. The old, the young and pregnant women are particularly at risk for complications from the flu, according to the CDC. A seasonal flu shot can help prevent infection. Pneumonia occurs when viruses or bacteria in the lungs cause an infection. Those older than 65 or younger than 5 are at high risk of catching the disease. Vaccination with the flu, pneumococcal, pertussis measles, varicella and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccines may help prevent infection, according to the CDC. Following good hygiene practices also reduces the risk.
9. Kidney Disease:
Disorders of the kidney include nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis were responsible for 47,112 deaths in 2013. Nephritis is an inflammation of the kidneys that can be caused by infection or an allergic reaction to a drug. Nephrotic syndrome is characterized by a buildup of protein in the urine. Among the causes of the condition are: infection, response to drugs, cancer, immune disorders, diabetes or lupus. Nephrosis is damage to the kidneys that can be caused by pain medication, or chronic conditions such as diabetes, lupus or high blood pressure.
10. Blood Poisoning:
This life-threatening condition occurs when the blood is infected with bacteria or other toxins that commonly come from infections in the lung, urinary tract, abdomen, or pelvis. The condition can begin with spiking fevers, chills, rapid breathing, a change in mental status, and rapid heart rate, and the person often quickly becomes very ill. The symptoms of blood poisoning can swiftly progress to shock, which has a high death rate; if you or a loved one has any of the warning signs, get to a hospital immediately. Preventive measures include seeking adequate medical treatment and compliance in diabetics(especially those with leg ulcers and people with injuries), adequate and hygienic management of labour/delivery and burns cases. Hospitals should have up to date anti-septic protocols. The rate of sepsis is expected to increase in future and fueled by the double problem of increasing incidences of lifestyle diseases and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. For that reason, hospitals should have a standardized observation regime so sepsis can be diagnosed early in its progression and should create clear treatment plans for addressing it.
If due awareness and care is not rendered to women we are bound to face major problem. Healthy 2017!