Top 5 Threats to a Woman’s Health

Top 5 Threats to a Woman's Health
Top 5 Threats to a Woman's Health

Top 5 Threats to a Woman’s Health

( – Women are unique in many ways, including their health risks. All health risks are important, of course, but some can become life-threatening.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women need to be most concerned about heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and chronic lower respiratory disease.

A shocking conclusion included in the CDC’s statistics is that over 13% of women who are at least 18 years old are in fair or poor health! Significantly, one out of every three women is affected by obesity and/or high blood pressure.

Considering such statistics, it is encouraging that many if not most of these threats to a woman’s health are preventable. The first step in prevention is to talk to your healthcare provider to determine your own level of risk, and then develop and follow a plan that will aid you in maintaining optimal long-term health.

  1. Heart Disease:  Although heart disease is commonly thought of as a man’s disease, it is actually the number one cause of death in women as well. Women can reduce their risk of developing heart disease by making lifestyle changes, such as:
  • Avoid smoking
  • Monitor and control high blood pressure
  • Reduce cholesterol levels
  • Maintain healthy blood sugar levels
  • Staying physically active
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

2. Cancer: Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, except for skin cancer, among American women. Invasive breast cancer is second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer death among women, taking the life of 1 of every 36 women each year. Due to technological and medical advances, an increase has been seen in the early detection of cancer, increasing survival rates among women. But, specialists are still uncertain as to the actual cause of cancer, making strategies for prevention unpredictable. It is highly recommended for women to take the necessary actions to live an overall healthy lifestyle, including:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Staying physically active
  • Consuming alcohol in moderation only
  • Undergoing cancer screenings based on age and healthcare provider recommendation

3. Stroke:  The risk of stroke for women in the United States is significant, accounting for almost 8% of all female deaths. Stroke is also the leading cause of long-term disability. The risk factors for stroke are very similar to heart disease. Women should be sure they know are the warning signs of a stroke:

  • Sudden confusion
  • Sudden change in vision
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Sudden onset of a severe headache
  • Weakness or numbness in your arm, face or leg – especially if only on one side

4. Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease:  Also known as COPD, this group of diseases affects your lungs and airway and is responsible for approximately 64,000 deaths among women each year. As it is well known that smoking is the leading cause of COPD, the steps for prevention include:

  • Avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke
  • Protecting yourself from exposure to occupational dust or chemicals

5. Alzheimer’s Disease:  Although Alzheimer’s disease is ranked last in this list, it may be the most worrisome. More than half of the millions of Americans living with this disease are women, and specialists have yet to identify measures for prevention. Again, the recommendations are to maintain a healthy lifestyle as you would to prevent heart disease, as it is believed these two diseases are somehow linked. In addition, you may benefit by:

  • Staying mentally active by reading and doing puzzles
  • Including rich omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and fruits and vegetables in your healthy diet.

What you can do: The best methods for preventing or at least minimizing these top threats to your health are part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet and avoiding other harmful habits such as smoking and drinking in excess.

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