Dr. Shubhra Dey,
Senior Resident Doctor (Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department)
Hindu Rao Hospital. New Delhi
hile both men and women contract various conditions, some health issues affect women differently and more commonly. Women experience unique health issues and conditions, from pregnancy and menopause to gynecological conditions, such as uterine fibroids and pelvic floor disorders.
Women suffer higher heart attack deaths compared to men. Depression and anxiety exhibit more frequently among female patients. However, still believe breast cancer to be the leading cause of death for women. While it definitely makes the top five, it’s nowhere near as pervasive as heart disease, which claims one out of three women each year.
From heart disease to breast cancer to depression, HE Times gives you the inside info on why women are at high risk for these problems but may not know it
1. HEART DISEASE : Despite increases in awareness over the past decades, only about half (56%) of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer. About a third of the senior citizens have been diagnosed with hypertension, 5.2% with chronic heart disease and 2.7% with stroke. In India, report says that elderly, women more at risk.
“There are far too many women dying of heart disease in their 60s, when no one expects to die because that’s too young in this country,” says Dr. Shubhra Dey. “There are (also) women, who, for many years, are really ill with heart disease — being out of breath, not being able to walk up one flight of stairs … because heart disease impairs their ability to get around.” But the good news is heart disease is a preventable health issue through diet, exercise, not smoking, and limiting alcohol.
2. BREAST CANCER : Once again, breast cancer tops the list when you think about women and cancer. And breast cancer is definitely a top health concern for women. Experts say the fear of breast cancer can sometimes be exaggerated, stopping women from going to their doctors for screening, or pushing women to make rash decisions about mastectomy, when it may it may not be necessary. Fortunately, lifestyle choices can help prevent at least one-third of all cancers, so you can cut your risk by adopting healthier habits.
3. OSTEOPOROSIS : Osteoporosis is a bone condition that causes bones to thin and weaken over time, making them easier to break and is most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine. There typically are no symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. But once your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you might have signs and symptoms that include:
Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
Loss of height over time
A stooped posture
A bone that breaks much more easily than expected
One out of two women will experience osteoporosis in her lifetime. And this silent disease starts long before problems develop. The earlier you start protecting your bones the better. Good nutrition and regular exercise are essential for keeping your bones healthy throughout your life.
4. DEPRESSION : We all get the blues from time to time. But depression is more than that. Depression lasts for more than a couple of weeks and interferes with your daily life. Depression appears to affect more women than men. The estimate of the global burden of disease predicts that depression will be the second-leading cause of disability worldwide by 2020. Depression is widely prevalent in women in all age groups especially in India where 1.2 billion population lives. Depression can impact every area of a woman’s life—including your physical health, social life, relationships, career, and sense of self-worth—and is complicated by factors such as reproductive hormones, social pressures, and the unique female response to stress.
In order to overcome depression, you have to do things that relax and energize you. This includes following a healthy lifestyle, learning how to better manage stress, setting limits on what you’re able to do, and scheduling fun activities into your day.
5. AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES : Autoimmune diseases are a group of disorders in which the immune system attacks the body and destroys or alters tissues. Autoimmune diseases affect approximately 8% of the population, 78% of whom are women. The reasons for the high prevalence in women are unknown, but circumstantial evidence links autoimmune diseases with preceding infections.
Here are five of the most common autoimmune diseases that affect women. Each disease is unique, yet many share common symptoms of fatigue, dizziness and low-grade fever:
Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus).
Multiple sclerosis (MS).
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Although most autoimmune diseases don’t go away, you can treat your symptoms and learn to manage your disease, so you can enjoy life! Women with autoimmune diseases lead full, active lives. Your life goals should not have to change. It is important, though, to see a doctor who specializes in these types of diseases, follow your treatment plan, and adopt a healthy lifestyle.