When we speak of women’s health it generally concentrates on both physical and emotional issues. Though men and women have several health issues common, the possibility of incidence of certain diseases to the latter are more. Moreover some health issues are specific only to women. Hence, women’s health is actually a global concern and attracts more focus and attention from all corners of medicinal science industry.
List of top health issues faced by women and their causes are:
It may be surprising to know that heart disease is the number one killer in women though we always consider it as a disease for men. Although most of the heart diseases are related to atherosclerosis or narrowing of arteries, other causes may be congestive heart failure, abnormal rhythm or problems in the heart valve. Most of the heart diseases can be prevented by healthy & active life style and keeping blood pressure, sugar levels in blood and cholesterol under control.
This is the second dangerous threat to health. Again, we think breast cancer as a deadly threat, but it is the lung cancer which kills most of the women. Apart from lung and breast cancer, women are vulnerable to cancers like ovarian, cervical, endometrial and colon. Early detection of cancer can be done by regular check-ups and screenings. This will help to provide treatment at an early stage. Fortunately, by following a healthy life style, most of the cancers can be prevented.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease - COPD is another major health issue. The percentage of affected person is more in women compared to men. The disease is caused due to the limited exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide by lungs. This will lead to difficulty in breathing. Study suggests smoking as the main reason for this lung disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of Dementia. The important risk factors which may be attributed to Alzheimer’s disease are age and gender of a person. Women are more prone to this disease than men. It is characterized by reduced memory and difficulty in doing normal activities. This is caused mainly because of damage in nerve cells. Unfortunately, this disease is fatal.
Osteoporosis, a state in which bone density decreases, can lead to painful fractures. Major risk factors that contribute for osteoporosis are aging, being female, low body weight, menopause and smoking. For prevention and treatment medical fraternities recommend intake of calcium and vitamin D supplements, exercise and osteoporosis medications.
Loss of interest in doing things that are usually enjoyed, prolonged feeling of sadness, sleeping & eating disorders are not signs of weakness but are clear indications of depression. It is a medical illness that is considered as a serious one but the majority of the cases can be treated and cured. The major factors contributing to depression are genes, stress and hormones.
During pregnancy, women faces several health issues like morning sickness, heartburn, diabetes during gestation period, sore back, constipation, blood pressure, post natal depression and other pregnancy related issues. Most of these issues can be treated by medication and change in life style.
Menstrual health issues starts with premenstrual syndrome like fatigue, tender breasts, irritability, mood swings and depression. Other menstrual problems are irregular periods and menopause. Menopause occurs when ovaries produce less estrogen which leads to stoppage of menstrual cycle. As this is a natural process in a woman’s life, usually medication is not required. But, in the event of strong effects on mental and physical abilities, medical therapies are available.
Autoimmune disease (AD) refers to various illness that involves almost all organs and systems of the body. The basic problem in all ADs is that the body’s immune system is misguided and attacks the organs it is supposed to protect. Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Type-I and Diabetes are few examples of autoimmune diseases. Women are three times more prone to majority of ADs than men and in fact the ratio is very high in few cases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and autoimmune hepatitis.
Women with diabetes are at higher risk to acquire heart related diseases. In the event of a heart attack, it may be even be fatal for women compared to men. Gestational diabetes is very common among women. So it is advisable to maintain normal blood glucose level during and before pregnancy for the welfare of baby.
Sexual and Reproductive Health:
The state of physical and psychological well-being can be achieved when there is good and satisfactory sexual life. Lacking sexual desire may be due to either physical reasons such as heart disease, diabetes, hormone problems or psychological reasons which include stress and depression. WHO envisions “a world where every pregnant women and newborn receives quality care throughout pregnancy, childbirth and post-natal periods”. Even UNFPA strives to provide universal access to sexual and reproductive health which also includes family planning.
Biological and gender related differences between men and women are the main reasons that have impact on health. In many parts of world, women are discriminated and are deprived of quality services of health. Women and young children are vulnerable to AIDS because of sexual violence against them. Education, healthy and active life style and provision of quality services of health are some of the keys to improve upon the health issues of women.