We Can Do It: Addressing Women’s Health Issues All Year Long

Each October, our national attention turns to pink ribbons and Breast cancer awareness. This time of year also provides a spotlight for women’s preventive care such as mammograms and well-woman visits. Many women tend to put the needs of others in their families first and forget to make time to care for themselves. Does this sound like you? If it does, make a resolution to make your health a priority and use this October to kick off your care!

What is a well-woman appointment?Women's Health
Well-woman visits are a part of preventive care. Preventive care can help women live healthier and longer lives – just take a look at Dr. Edie Landeck ! The visit includes a full checkup separate from any other visit for sickness or injury.  An annual well-woman visit is a chance to evaluate your current state of health and review your overall health and wellness. It allows you to keep track of your health habits and history, get a physical exam and work with your doctor to set health goals.

Prominent women’s health issues include:
Osteoarthritis: Arthritis is the leading cause of physical disability in the United States.The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis causes joint pain, stiffness and swelling. This condition affects almost 27 million people and affects more women than men.

Alcohol Abuse: While men are more likely to become dependent on or addicted to alcohol throughout their lifetime, as many as 5.3 million women in the United States abuse alcohol. Alcohol abuse puts women’s health, safety and general well-being at risk. The health effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism include: an increased risk for breast cancer, heart disease, and fetal alcohol syndrome, in which infants born to mothers who drank during pregnancy suffer brain damage and learning difficulties.

Mental Health: Depression is the most common women’s mental health ailment, and more women than men are diagnosed with depression each year. Women are also more likely to show signs of depression and anxiety than men.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: The effects of STDs/STIs on women are serious. Untreated STDs/STIs cause infertility in at least 24,000 women each year in the United States. STDs/STIs often go untreated in women because symptoms are less obvious than in men or are more likely to be confused with another less serious condition, such as a yeast infection.

Stroke: Strokes kill twice as many women as breast cancer does every year. Although many of the risk factors for stroke are the same for men and women, some are different. These include:

  • Taking birth control pills
  • Being pregnant
  • Using hormone replacement therapy, a combined hormone therapy of progestin and estrogen designed to relieve menopausal symptoms
  • Having frequent migraine headaches
  • Having a thick waist (larger than 35.2 inches), particularly if post-menopausal, and high triglyceride (blood fat) levels

Stress:  Women are more likely to report having stress, and almost 50% of all women in the survey, compared to 39% of the men, reported that their stress had increased over the past 5 years. Stress also has unique effects on women including the ability to get pregnant, according to a recent study.

Discuss your lifestyle and family history with your doctor to see what you’re at risk for. Although certain disease risks and genetic factors may be out of your control, you can still take charge of your health and well-being by:

  • Eating Heathy
  • Being Active
  • Protecting Yourself
  • Managing Stress
  • Getting Well-woman visits/Check –ups

Have you made preventive care a priority?

Sources: National Institutes of Health, Health Resources and Services  Administration, Health Finder.gov

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