What are The Top 5 Health Concerns for Women Today?

By on 09/18/2015
depression in women

top 5 health concerns women100 years ago, women’s biggest health concerns were pneumonia, flu, tuberculosis, internal infections, and heart disease.

So, in today’s wonderful, medically and technologically advanced day and age, are any of these concerns still on the “Top 5” list for women?

I’ll give you a hint, only one ailment is still a top 5… Care to guess?

… Heart disease!

But what about the rest? Well, thanks to amazing medical research, technology and advances in medicine, when you hear about the flu, pneumonia or a gastrointestinal infection, you don’t flinch, do you? You just say, “go to the doctor and get a few prescriptions and you’ll be fine in a week or so.” It really is amazing how many major medical threats we have defeated through medicinal advances.

But what about today’s health concerns for women?

Today’s top 5 health concerns for women worry are about heart disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis, depression, and autoimmune diseases.

Let’s tackle these one at at time, shall we?

Heart Diseaseheart disease in women

Heart disease wins the prize for being the longest running health concern. How is it after all this time, we still struggle with it to such a severe degree? Most experts theorize that today’s heart disease is caused by stress, poor diet and genetics.

There have been many named enemies of our heart: eggs, salt, and saturated fats. Well, now, that list has changed again. For those with healthy hearts and no family members who have heart disease, eating a moderated healthy diet is usually enough to keep your heart healthy. But, for those with known heart issues, or who are genetically predisposed to develop heart disease later in life, greater care in your diet is very important. Today, experts agree that is is refined sugar that you must avoid. Sugar creates inflammation on the artery walls, which eventually leads to heart attack or stroke. Unfortunately, today’s foods are more processed and full of sugar than every before. Even items like bread have added sugars now. You have to learn to read labels and stick to your guns on this one. Sugar will kill your heart faster than any other food. Stay away from sugar, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, and carbs, which your body breaks down into glucose, aka sugar.

Breast Cancerbreast cancer

100 years ago, 64 people out of 100,000 died of cancer. Today, 186 out of 100,000 die from it. What in the world is going on? Breast cancer rates have been steadily rising, and no one knows why.

Your best defense is to eat well, exercise, and never miss a mammogram (which are recommended after the age of 40, or much earlier if there is a history of breast cancer in your family). You can also  talk to your doctor about taking a very simple blood test called BRCA1 or BRCA2 which can test you for genetic markers if breast cancer does runs in your family.

So while breast cancer is on the rise, the good news is at least we have better detection. The catch is you have to take the initiative to go get tested and stay on track with your doctor. It may be scary but it can save your life!

Osteoporosisosteoporosis in women

Each year 3 million people in the US are diagnosed with osteoporosis, which currently has no cure. Moreover, there are no real symptoms or warning signs of osteoporosis until it is highly severe in your body. The first symptoms to manifest, back pain, bone fractures or loss of height, indicate that your bones are already in serious trouble.

The best treatment for osteoporosis is early prevention. This may not be a concern until you are in your 60’s, but your best bet for preventing it is to start fighting it while you are still much younger. Bones reach peak density in your 20’s, and after that all you can do is preserve them as best as you can. You need to exercise regularly which is proven to increase bone mass, as well as get your proper daily intake of calcium and vitamin D. You also need to limit your smoking and drinking as both of these bad habits have been linked directly to bone loss over time. Finally, you need to reduce your salt intake. Today’s processed foods are loaded with salt, and unfortunately too much salt leeches calcium from your bones.

You can also go to your doctor and ask for your T-score, which is a test that will tell you the likelihood of you developing osteoporosis in the next 10 years, based on your current bone density.

Depressiondepression in women

Many believe that the same technological revolution that is giving our world amazing access to research, healthcare and medical advances is also slowly hurting us in other ways. Research shows that people in all 1st world countries now spend more time on their phones, computers and watching TV than ever before. We talk less, see each other less, go outside less, and participate in real life less. Additionally, jobs have become more demanding and more and more employees are expected to always be reachable via their cell phones. This virtual detachment and increase in stress is causing a huge rise in depression. Prescription drugs for treating mental health problems like depression are now being prescribed more than ever before. Society is now stuck in an on-line world, and over-drugged to numb the negative mental effects.

This digital age of ours is still young and many theorize that in 25-50 years for now we are going to see a huge rise in additional health problems like obesity, anxiety, social disorders, ADD/ADHD and more.

Anyone who is feeling depressed or hopeless needs to reach out to their doctor before their situation gets worse, but some good, non-medicated advice is to turn off the TV and computer, and use your phone to simply call a friend and set up a real coffee date where you can talk face to face. Go outside and exercise or talk a walk with nature. Do something that pulls you out of the web and back into reality, where you are meant to be.

Autoimmune Diseasesautoimmune diseases

Unfortunately, autoimmune diseases are far more prevalent in women than men. Autoimmunity is the underlying cause of more than 100 serious, chronic illnesses, and women make up 75% of all cases. Even worse, this category of illness is still relatively new and the medical community has yet to become organized around the best ways to diagnose and treat the many varying diseases that fall under this umbrella. A recent survey by the AARDA revealed that, “it takes most autoimmune patients up to 4.6 years and nearly 5 doctors before receiving a proper autoimmune disease diagnosis.” For now, there is no “right” way to get a proper diagnosis. The best thing you can do is educate yourself on your symptoms, and reach out to varying medical communities that are working hard on making autoimmunity a more commonly known issue among all doctors that can be readily diagnosed anywhere, without taking 4.6 years. A great resource to start is the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association.

 

They say knowing is half the battle. Now that you know the top 5 health concerns of women, you can educate yourself and, armed with knowledge, do your best to prevent any of these from becoming an actual problem for you.

About modernhealthproject

Hi there! This is my little blog project where I am trying to learn more about health, wellness and living a balanced life, while also sharing a bit of my silly side as well. By "silly" I mean sarcastic. And by "a bit" I mean way too much. Sorry about that.♥ - Anna

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