While women face several health issues specific to their gender such as endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, and uterine fibroids, the main threats to your health are so commonplace, you might not think about them at all. For example, heart disease affects all genders, but it’s typically associated with men. Women often experience different symptoms than men, and as with most medical conditions, you may not notice any symptoms at all in the early stages of your disease.
Heart disease is the most common cause of death for American women. Around a quarter of deaths are due to heart disease. Your genetics contribute to your risk of heart disease. However, making healthy choices such as avoiding tobacco, eating a balanced diet, and getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day can help reduce your risk.
Some of the early warning signs of heart disease include:
- Chest pain or pressure
- Discomfort in your arms, neck, jaw, or stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, light-headedness
If you think you’re having a heart attack, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. However, in most cases, you may have undiagnosed and untreated high blood pressure or high cholesterol, which could increase your risk of heart disease. Having routine blood pressure tests and blood tests can identify these conditions in their early stages. Then, you can get the help you need to improve your health before you ever experience symptoms.
Breast cancer gets a lot of attention from pink ribbons, fundraising races, and Breast Cancer Awareness month in October. After skin cancer, it’s the most common type of cancer in women. However, breast cancer isn’t your only risk. Colorectal cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer, and ovarian cancer are also prevalent in women. Most types of cancer don’t cause noticeable symptoms in their early stages, so having routine screenings such as mammograms, Pap smears, and colonoscopy are critical to early diagnosis and treatment. Talk to your Maiden Lane Medical healthcare provider about how frequently you should have cancer screenings.
Women are not only more likely than men to experience a stroke, but you’re more likely to die from stroke. While many of the risk factors for stroke are the same in men and women, you face additional risk factors as a woman, including:
- Pregnancy, particularly during the third trimester and postpartum
- If you had preeclampsia during pregnancy
- Use birth control pills
- Have hormone replacement therapy
- Experience migraines with aura
- Have atrial fibrillation
You can reduce your risk of stroke by staying physically active, eating a balanced diet, avoiding tobacco, and maintaining a healthy body weight. If you have health issues like high blood pressure or diabetes, make sure to work with your healthcare provider to control your disease and protect your health.
More than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes. Most people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes, which is also known as insulin resistance. Your genetics contribute to your risk of Type 2 diabetes, but in many cases, lifestyle factors such as being overweight and physically inactive increase your chances of developing the disease. Diabetes increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, and amputation. Talk to your healthcare provider about your risk and have blood and urine tests to monitor your blood sugar levels.
Every year, between 9 and 49 million Americans get the flu, which leads to between 140,000 – 960,000 hospitalizations, and up to 79,000 deaths. The flu is a quickly mutating virus that spreads easily between people. While everyone is at risk of the flu, we include it in this list because it is so prevalent and potentially dangerous. If you use the subway, work with the public, or are over the age of 65, your risk of the flu is higher, and you should have an annual flu shot before flu season begins.
Here at Maiden Lane Medical, our goal is to provide personalized preventive health care to help you stay healthy and lead an active and fulfilling life. Contact us today to schedule an annual exam or to make an appointment to talk to one of our experienced providers about a specific concern.