Six Important Health issues for Women


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Six Important Health issues for Women

October 15, 2014


1. Coronary Heart Disease is the number one cause of death in American women.  The major risk factors are increasing age, male gender, genetics, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle, and diabetes.  Obviously some of these risk factors cannot be changed but for those that are modifiable, you should try to change them.


2. Stroke has all of the same risk factors as heart disease.  However, there are some additional risk factors include prior history of stroke or TIA, Carotid or other artery disease, atrial fibrillation (and other heart disease), and sickle cell disease.


3. High Cholesterol is one of the modifiable risk factors for Heart disease and Stroke.  Changing one’s diet can often be effective in bringing one’s cholesterol down.  You should increase your daily fiber intake and decrease you fat intake (particularly saturated and Trans fats).


4. Lung Cancer is the number one cause of cancer related deaths in women.  The most important risk factor is smoking.  If you are a smoker, talk to your doctor about strategies for quitting.  This should include a lengthy and detailed conversation about behavioral modification techniques and possible use of medications or other therapeutic modalities.


5. Breast Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women in the United States.  There are numerous risk factors for breast cancer.  Some of these such as genetic background and menstrual history are not modifiable.  However, there are some risks that you can do something about.  These include being overweight, alcohol use, and certain types of hormone use.


6. Osteoporosis or thinning of the bones is a significant problem in women.  Its risk factors include increasing age, female gender, family history, low body weight, race, history of broken bones, menopause, low hormone levels, diet, inactivity, smoking, and certain medications.


Looking at the diseases and conditions above, it is clear that there are several lifestyle changes that can lead to healthier lives for women.  These include not smoking, having ideal body weight, appropriate and balanced diet, limited alcohol intake, physical activity/exercise, and controlling chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure. 


Looking at women’s health from a different point of view includes identifying preventable causes of death.  In the year 2000, one third of deaths were linked to preventable causes.  In order, these were smoking, poor diet/physical inactivity, alcohol, microbial agents, toxic agents, motor vehicle crashes, incidents involving firearms, sexual behaviors, and illicit drugs.  This doesn’t even count the number of people who didn’t die but whose quality of life was affected by illnesses linked to these preventable situations.

Of course everyone is different.  A careful discussion with you doctor about your family history and underlying medical problems as well as habits can clarify which conditions you should work on specifically to have a longer life and a better quality of ?



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