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Top 5 women health problems

According to health statistics, women are outliving men in almost all countries in the world. In spite of men are stronger, taller, faster and less likely to be overweight, women life expectancy is higher. Women longer life has become widely accepted as normal phenomena but debated about causes and duration of this “norm” is still ongoing. According to recent research, woman/men difference in survival rate is actually a relatively recent phenomena (starting just in 20th century). Scientists noted that while mortality rates decreased for both sexes throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, female death rates began decreasing by 70% faster than those of males after 1880. At the same time, certain women health problems and female diseases are increasing and leading to higher morbidity and mortality.

Health experts highlight top 5 women health problems which heart diseases, breast cancer, osteoporosis, menstrual dysfunctions and depression which can be not only prevented but can be also successfully treated. Each woman should know health risk factor and should change lifestyle accordingly.

Top 5 women health problems – heart diseases

According to health statistics, heart diseases are leading killers of both women and men. About 25-29% of female death happens because of heart diseases. In reality more men die from heart diseases (compared with females) but women more often are misdiagnosed or under-diagnosed which cause late diagnostic and more complicated conditions for treatment.

“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. 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.”
Cindy Pearson, Executive director of National Women’s Health Network.

Lifestyle changes can reduce women health problems connected to heart diseases. Special attention should be paid to risk factors for heart diseases including following:

Top 5 women health problems

  • Aging,
  • Family history of heart diseases,
  • High blood pressure,
  • Increased levels of cholesterol,
  • Passive lifestyle (physical inactivity),
  • Overweight and obesity,
  • Smoking,
  • Diabetes.

Top 5 women health problems – breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. During whole lifetime women’s breast cancer average risk is about 10-15% (depending on country health care and health statistics). One woman among every 8 women has chances for breast cancer development (1 in 8). Different women have different risks for breast cancer development. In general, the chance that woman could die from breast cancer is about 2.5-2.7% (in average1 in 38 women). Nowadays thanks to breast cancer screening programmes and modern treatment modules millions of women can survive breast cancer. Breast cancer risk factors include following:

  • Gender (being a woman),
  • Aging (women over 55 are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer),
  • Genetic factors (family history of breast cancer),
  • Hormonal factors (increased levels of estrogen),
  • Hormone replacement therapy (long-term use of hormone replacement therapy after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer),
  • Race (Caucasian women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer),
  • Dense breast tissue cellular changes (hyperplasia, atypical grow, benign tumors) can also increase breast cancer risk,
  • Obesity is associated with increased risk of breast cancer (especially for menopausal women),
  • Stress (several mechanisms during stress could play not only risk factor for breast cancer development but could also stimulate grow of breast cancerous cells).

Breast cancer can be prevented in 3 ways – by following:

Top 5 women health problems – osteoporosis

Osteoporosis (weakened bones) is increased loss of bone mass and strength. When we grow, bones form faster than resolve. During aging bone breakdown begins to outpace bone buildup, resulting in a gradual loss of bone mass. Women lose bone material more rapidly compared with men (especially after 50 during menopausal estrogen deficiency). Risk factors for osteoporosis include:

  • Gender (being a woman),
  • Aging,
  • Small thin bones (thin-boned frame),
  • Vitamin D deficiency,
  • Decreased levels of female hormones (mainly estrogen),
  • Race (white and Asian women),
  • Smoking.

Osteoporosis can be prevented by regular physical activities, sun exposure, vitamin D use and adequate calcium consumption.

Top 5 women health problems – menstrual dysfunctions

Every healthy woman experience monthly naturally (genetically) determined cyclic hormonal fluctuations which insure regular menstrual cycles – basis of healthy reproductive system. Several factors can change or damage hormonal rhythms and production of female hormones. These factors include stress, dramatic weight changes, infections, hormonal contraception, surgical interventions, malnutrition, several medications and general chronic diseases.

Nowadays women life is full of stress, career obstacles, complicated relations, family problems and financial disturbances. All mentioned factors can trigger different types of menstrual dysfunctions including irregular bleeding, oligomenorrhea and amenorrhea. At the same time, several genetic factors could be responsible for menstrual dysfunctions.

Irregular bleeding instead of regular monthly menstrual periods can be great cause for alarm and can be triggered by following causes:

  • Anovulatory cycles (without ovulation),
  • Uterine fibroids,
  • Cervical and uterine polyps,
  • Adenomyosis,
  • Psychological/emotional or physical stress (including surgical interventions),
  • Hormonal contraception (mainly wrongly used) – missed pills, missed dates of injection, emergency contraception or hormonal intrauterine devices,
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease,
  • Perimenopause and menopause,
  • Ovaryan cysts,
  • Uterine cancer.

Oligomenorrhea is identified as rare periods (later than 35-36 days). It could be caused by following factors:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS),
  • Adrenal dysfunctions,
  • Thyroid diseases,
  • Diabetes,
  • Any type of stress,
  • Chronic diseases and medication/drug abuse.

Amenorrhea is identified as absence of menstrual periods for more than 6 months. It could be triggered by following:

  • Inherited diseases (gonadal dysgenesis, Turner Syndrome, aplasia, Kallmann syndrome);
  • Premature ovarian failure;
  • Anorexia and/or bulimia;
  • Chronic diseases (diabetes, tuberculosis, cancer, etc.);
  • Malnutrition, excessive weight gain or weight loss;
  • Psychiatric diseases (including different types of depression);
  • Drug addiction and/or drug abuse;
  • Pituitary tumors or hyperprolactinemia.

Top 5 women health problems – depression

Unfortunately depression affects more women than men. Several risk factors can be responsible for women depression:

  • Family history of depression,
  • Previous depressive episodes,
  • Cardio-vascular diseases,
  • Long-term chronic diseases,
  • Personal marital or relationship problems,
  • Medication or drug abuse,
  • Childhood history of physical and/or sexual abuse,
  • Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia).

Depression can be prevented by having busy schedule, interesting work and pleasant hobbies, community support and love, supportive family pets. Depression light therapy can be easiest solution.

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