Its a tough world out there for women, and sometimes staying healthy isnt only about eating right and exercising. There are all sorts of threats to our health that span everything from accidents to other people.
What threats are the most serious to your well being? Weve looked into it. Here are a few things to be aware of so you stay your healthiest self.
1. Heart Disease
Heart disease is a leading killer of women. In fact, the condition is responsible for about 29 percent of deaths of women, according to the CDC.
Heart disease is often underdiagnosed for women because the symptoms are typical complaints from women that often get overlooked. Be aware of symptoms like jaw pain, shoulder aches, nausea, vomiting, or shortness of breath and talk to your doctor regularly about your risk of developing heart disease.
Lung cancer followed by breast cancer are the second and third leading causes of female deaths in the U.S. Although breast cancer is more common, lung cancer is actually the biggest killer.
Fortunately, women can reduce their risk of cancer by making lifestyle changes and developing healthy habits. Some even say that lifestyle choices can help prevent at least one-third of all cancers.
While personal habits like not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and reducing alcohol intake can help reduce your chances of getting cancer, you can take measures such as getting radon mitigation from a company such as Radon 1 if you are located in an area with high levels of radon. There is also a strong biological component. Knowing your family history and getting regular cancer screenings is essential to reducing your risk.
Although strokes are responsible for almost 8 percent of all female deaths, the bigger concern is disability. Strokes are the leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S. and women are more affected by this condition than men.
Some symptoms include numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding, dizziness, or an abrupt severe headache. Call 911 if any of these symptoms occur.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is reduced or cut off. Some factors that increase your risk of a stroke include being overweight or obese, heavy drinking, or high blood pressure. Maintain a healthy, active lifestyle to reduce your risk of having a stroke.
Unintentional falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injury treated in U.S. hospitals among women of all ages. Women over age 65 have the highest rate of injury due to unintentional falls of all age groups.
Falls dont just include long, tragic drops. Even slipping in the bathtub or rolling out of bed can be very dangerous if the person gets a concussion. Especially as you age, its important to set up aids and safety measures that will help prevent falls around the home.
Implementing different types of safety measures in your home, as well as taking extra care when you’re outside and in other buildings can also help to reduce your risk of injury. Some injuries could greatly affect your job performance, and in serious cases, it could even make you disabled. This could result in time away from the workplace to allow you to fully recover, and if this happens, looking for a disability insurance quote online can ensure that your income is protected during this time, so you are still able to financially provide for yourself. Of course, this wouldn’t need to happen if you take extra care when going about your daily life.
5. Car Accidents
An accident as a motor vehicle occupant is the second leading cause of injury for women ages 18 to 34 and the third leading cause of injury for women 35 to 64. But motor vehicles arent just dangerous for women. Nearly one-quarter of deaths from injuries are a result of traffic crashes.
Cautious driving, regular refresher courses, always wearing a seatbelt, and never driving drowsy or drunk are some ways you can prevent injuries or death by motor vehicles. Often, you will hear stories of a truck accident claiming the lives of other drivers on the road or pedestrians in the truck’s path. The size of such a vehicle obviously suggests that injuries can be substantial or even fatal and so, more often than not, lawyers are brought into such cases to seek justice for those impacted by an incident of this kind.
Osteoporosis, or weakened, porous bones, affects 44 million Americans, of which 68 percent are women. Because osteoporosis greatly increases your risk of bone fractures, its a major concern for women middle age and older.
Losing bone density is natural as we age, but a lack of calcium and vitamin D can cause bones to lose their mass even quicker and greatly increases the risk of fracture.
Because bones dont regenerate as quickly as they used to after age 30, bone fractures become more and more serious. To keep bones strong and healthy, make sure your body gets adequate vitamins and minerals, dont smoke, and keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.
7. Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases are a group of disorders in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and injures the body. There are more than 80 serious illnesses classified as autoimmune diseases.
Although these illnesses are uncommon by themselvesbesides diabetes, thyroid disease, and lupustogether these diseases make up the fourth largest cause of disability among American women. In fact, 75 percent of the diagnosed autoimmune disorders are in women.
Causes range from genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors, but much more research is needed to understand the specific causes and treatments of these disorders.
Reports show that depression affects about twice as many women in the U.S. as it does men. This is largely attributed to womens more communal naturethey need a connection with others more than men do and tend to get depressed when that connection is missing.
Another reason may be the hormonal changes that women experience, especially after pregnancy or around menopause. Regardless of the reasons women have a greater propensity for depression, the causes are many and range from family history to substance abuse to stressful life events.
While there are many things a person can do to reduce their risk of depression, such as exercising and getting plenty of vitamin D, one of the greatest recommendations is to get involved in a community. Whether it be work, volunteering, or friends, having a reason to get up each day greatly reduces ones risk of developing depression.
Although it may seem like death and injury from childbirth should be decreasing in the 21st century, it is in fact going up. In 1987 there were 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births, the lowest rate on record, but numbers have shot up to 15 deaths per 100,000 live births as of 2013.
On average 700 women die of pregnancy-related complications each year, and another 34,000 barely avoid death. The increase in deaths is largely attributed to the prevalence of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and more older women having children.
This unique threat to womens health is something that can be helped with mothers maintaining a healthy lifestyle before and during pregnancy.
In 2013, comedian Louis C.K. joked, How do women still go out with guys, when you consider that there is no greater threat to women than men? Were the number one threat to women! Globally and historically, were the number one cause of injury and mayhem to women.
And there is truth in jest!
Reports show that one in four women worldwide will experience domestic or dating violence in their lifetime. And it continues to be a leading cause for homelessness for women and children in the U.S.
Education for men and women, as well as resources for women and children in abusive homes is essential to reducing the rate of domestic violence around the world. Today, there are a number of organizations worldwide that are dedicated to fulfilling those needs and hopefully putting an end to intimate partner violence.
If there is anything to be learned from these threats to womens health, its that maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle and staying educated about these threats is the best way to avoid them. There will always be dangers that are responsible for death and injury, but hopefully they decrease over time and women and men can lead happier, healthier lives.