Understanding our health risks and making changes to improve our chances at a long and healthy life should be a top priority. And while women face many of the same health risks that men do, they have others they need to watch out for as well.
Fortunately, knowledge is power. And a lot of the leading health risks to women can be prevented. That’s why the team at Healing Hands Chiropractic with Dr. Dee put together this list of health risks women face and some steps to take to start making positive changes to your health today.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Nearly 1 in 5 deaths to women is due to heart disease. The most common cause of heart disease is due to the narrowing or blockages of the coronary arteries, which are the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart.
This can happen slowly over time and women may not even be aware that it is happening. Silent heart attacks are more common in women than in men since physicians may claim symptoms women experience are due to anxiety and dismiss them.
But heart disease is a very serious concern for women. Fortunately, a blood test is one of the main ways doctors can help you figure out your risk for heart disease. The most common test is a lipid profile which looks at cholesterol and triglycerides.
Depending on symptoms or other risk factors like family history, doctors can also order tests to check for sodium and potassium levels and inflammation levels in the body.
Doctors can also order the following tests:
This measures electrical activity in the heart. It can also look at heart rhythm as well as any evidence of heart attacks.
This is basically an ultrasound of the heart and looks at the heart structure, function and heart valve performance.
This looks at how well your heart performs under stress and is oftentimes done while a patient exercises while wearing equipment to measure the heart’s electrical signals and blood pressure.
This is a specialized CT scan that looks at blood vessels around the heart and can tell if there are any blockages.
Cancer is another health risk women face with the most common ones being breast, colorectal, lung, endometrial, cervical, skin, and ovarian cancers. In the United States, 1 in 2 women are susceptible to developing cancer in their lifetime.
Women can take the proactive approach by checking themselves for any unusual lumps, marks, and symptoms. Some cancers, such as ovarian, don’t have any recommended screening tests, so it’s important to look for any symptoms, especially if they last more than a few weeks.
Signs of cancer include:
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits
- A sore that doesn’t heal
- Unusual bleeding or discharge
- Changes in eating habits such as loss of appetite or feeling full
- Unexplained weight loss
- Pain in the pelvis or abdominal area
- Persistent indigestion or nausea
- Constant fatigue
- Thickening or lump on the body
- Changes to a wart or mole
- Nagging cough
Prevention, screenings, and understanding any family history of cancer play a big role in preventing cancer or discovering it early enough for treatment.
Women have a higher risk of having a stroke than their male counterparts. Plus it tends to kill more women than men. Up to 1 in 5 women are at risk of having a stroke. Strokes occur when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures.
Higher stroke risk can be contributed to:
- Birth control pills
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Migraines with aura
- Atrial fibrillation
Besides some of the common symptoms such as sudden numbness or weakness, confusion, trouble seeing or walking, women have other symptoms as well. These include general weakness, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath and nausea, or vomiting.
The biggest risk factors for women are high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Age and heart disease are also risk factors.
Ways To Adopt A Healthier Lifestyle
While some risk factors can’t be eliminated such as family history, there are many other risk factors that can be controlled. Even if a woman already has some health problems, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes that can increase risk of health issues such as heart disease, making some of the few changes listed below can have a positive impact.
If you smoke or use other tobacco products, work on quitting. Also, avoid any exposure to secondhand smoke.
Eat A Healthy Diet
Whole foods should make up most of your meals including vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other high-fiber foods as well as lean sources of protein. Make sure to limit foods high in saturated and trans fats and foods with added sugar or sodium.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Staying at a healthy weight can help lower a woman’s risk of heart disease as well as many types of cancers.
Exercise not only helps weight control, but it can also lower a woman’s risk of heart disease and stroke as well as certain types of cancers. Make sure it’s an activity you enjoy so you’ll stick with it.
Drink in moderation. Too much alcohol can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and even some types of cancers.
Too much stress can lead to people making unhealthy choices, like poor eating, drinking or smoking. Plus it can cause the immune system to suffer making someone more susceptible to illnesses.
Contact Healing Hands Today
If you have health concerns, contact Healing Hands Chiropractic today. Dr. Dee wants to see people live healthier, happier lives, and that all starts with scheduling your appointment today. We are located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and are happy to help those in all of the surrounding areas.
Did you know Chiropractic care can help treat chronic back pain, sports injuries, and auto accidents?
Get in touch with Dr. Dee at Healing Hands Chiropractic today for an initial consultation!