This week is National Women’s Health Week, a time when women are encouraged to focus on themselves by making their health a priority.
The following is a list of five common health issues women may face:
Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women (and men) in the United States? Women are also more likely to die following a heart attack. The symptoms of a heart attack are different in women than in men. Instead of chest pain, women are more likely to feel shortness of breath; pain in their arms, neck, jaw or shoulder; and upper back or abdominal discomfort. It’s important that women recognize these symptoms and seek medical attention immediately if they have them.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths, followed by breast cancer. However, many gynecologic cancers are often diagnosed in women, such as uterine, cervical, ovarian, vagina and vulvar cancers. Fortunately, screening tests are available to detect breast and cervical cancer. For the others, it’s important to tell your primary care provider about any abnormal changes; early detection can allow for more effective treatment.
Being female puts you at risk of developing osteoporosis, a serious condition that causes bones to gradually thin and weaken, leaving them susceptible to fractures. Why are women more likely to develop this condition than men? Women tend to have smaller, thinner bones than men and estrogen—a hormone in women that protects bones—decreases when women reach menopause, which can cause bone loss.
Mental health is also a concern that everyone should be aware of; this includes depression, anxiety, and somatic complaints or disorders. A somatic disorder involves an extreme focus on physical symptoms, such as pain or fatigue, that causes major emotional distress and problems functioning.
Women can also experience gynecological health issues, such as heavy menstrual cycles, pelvic pain, uterine fibroids and endometriosis. These conditions can become severe if not addressed.
Receiving regular checkups from a healthcare provider is the best way to detect and treat health issues. It’s also an ideal time to discuss appropriate health screenings. To find a provider or specialist that can address your healthcare needs, call Care Connect at 410-871-7000 or visit physicians.carrollhospitalcenter.org.