In honor of National Women’s Health Week, a week dedicated to increasing women’s awareness of ways to improve their health, here are five important health concerns of which women should always be aware:
• Heart Disease: While heart disease is the leading cause of death in women and men, women are more likely to die following a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms for women are also different. Symptoms more common in women include shortness of breath, nausea, lightheadedness, and back or jaw pain.
• Cancer: Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women. Lung cancer claims the most lives, followed by breast cancer. Although an individual’s family history is a major determinant, women can take steps, such as not smoking, getting an annual mammogram and adopting a healthier lifestyle, to help prevent cancer or identify it early.
• Stroke: Although many stroke risk factors are the same for both women and men (e.g. family history, high blood pressure and high cholesterol), some risk factors for women are unique. This includes taking birth control pills, pregnancy and using hormone replacement therapy.
• Mental Health: Women are more likely to show signs of depression and anxiety and have somatic complaints (an extreme focus on physical symptoms—such as pain or fatigue—that causes major emotional distress and problems functioning). Treatments for these health issues include medications, psychotherapy and exercise, as well as stress management and relaxation techniques.
• Osteoporosis: Women are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis, a bone disease that causes them to become extremely weak and brittle. With osteoporosis, bones can break from a fall, a minor bump or even from bending over, sneezing and coughing. The most common osteoporosis-related fractures occur in the hip, wrist or spine. To keep bones healthy, regular exercise and eating foods high in calcium and vitamin D are very important.
The best way to get your health on the right track is with regular check-ups by a provider. Carroll Hospital has a range of providers in various specialties to address your needs. To find one that is appropriate for you, call Care Connect at 410-871-7000, or visit our online physician directory.