As females, we become susceptible to a lot of health and wellness issues as we age. Not only do we have to worry about wrinkles and fine lines, but we also have to worry about our decreasing muscle volume and declining health. The first two things aren’t something to fear – it’s a natural part of the aging process. Declining health however, can put you at risk of life-threatening diseases.
And the sad truth of the matter? Some common diseases affect women more than men. It may be completely unfair, but it’s also completely preventable, as long as you know the symptoms to watch out for. And of course, be sure to incorporate some proven strategies into your lifestyle that will boost your health.
Here are the 5 most common female diseases, revealed.
1. Heart Disease:
Contrary to popular disease, heart disease isn’t actually a singular disease. From coronary artery disease, all the way to chest pains (angina), the term “heart disease” describes a category of conditions that affect your heart’s health. Heart diseases are pretty common in older women, so be sure to go to your doctor if you recognize any of these symptoms!
- Chest pains
- Shortness of breath
- Extremely fast or slow heartbeat
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Swelling of your legs, ankles, and feet
Remedies To Prevent Heart Disease:
1. Don’t Smoke:
Blood pressure and heart attacks may not be the first thing you think of, but whether it’s cigarettes or tobacco, smoking of any kind increases your risk for heart disease.
2. Exercise Regularly:
To reduce your risk of heart disease, make sure to exercise regularly. Physical activity increases your heart health and strengthens your body. You may not realize, but back pains and heart attack have been associated. But don’t panic: it’s usually accompanied by at least one or two other symptoms of heart disease.
2. Breast and Cervical Cancer:
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death – over 40,500 women die of breast cancer each year in the United States. (National Breast Cancer Foundation). On the other hand, if you’re wondering “Can cervical cancer be cured?”. The answer is yes, it absolutely can, as long as you catch it early. So be sure to learn the warning signs of these double-threats.
- Lump(s) in your breast
- Changes in the size or shape of your breast
- An inverted nipple or discharge
- Nipple or breast pain
- Abnormal bleeding
- Unusual discharge – look for changes in color, amount, consistency, or smell
- Pelvic pain
- Frequent or painful urination
Remedies To Prevent Breast and Cervical Cancer:
1. Drink Less Alcohol and Smoke Less:
Drinking alcohol and smoking both increases your risk of breast cancer. General medical advice will tell you to limit yourself to less than 1 cigarette or drink per day — even better if you can eliminate them entirely from your diet.
2. Go In For An Exam:
A cervical exam may cost you roughly $10, but the peace of mind and added benefits of catching symptoms early on, is priceless. It’s never too early for cervical cancer awareness – the next time you have a scheduled medical check-up, ask your doctor for a pap smear or an HPV test. They’ll determine which option is best for you.
Osteoporosis, Greek for “porous bone”, is a disease that causes brittle or frail bones that are prone to fractures and breakage. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, 1 in 4 women over the age of 50 are affected by osteoporosis. Luckily, osteoporosis in women is manageable, and can even be prevented.
- Back pain
- Loss in height over time
- Susceptible to bone fractures
- Stooped posture
Remedies To Prevent Osteoporosis:
1. Strengthen Your Bones With Calcium:
When your body lacks calcium, it starts to break down your bones – so calcium is vital to keeping your bones strong and healthy. Make sure you’re getting the crucial nutrition you need by consuming enough foods high in calcium such as soy milk, tofu, kale, and broccoli, or by getting it through a natural dietary supplement.
2. Cut Back On The Alcohol:
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: alcohol and osteoporosis go together like peanut butter and jelly. Okay, maybe we won’t compare it to your favorite childhood treat, but on a serious note, alcohol has an endless rap sheet of negative long term health effects on your health. That’s because alcohol prevents your body from absorbing the calcium it needs to stay healthy.
Much like heart disease, arthritis is commonly misunderstood. In reality, it’s not actually a single disease. It’s an umbrella term that describes joint conditions and diseases. Arthritis in women may not sound like a serious, terminal condition, but it can severely hinder your quality of life and prevent you from doing the things you love.
- Joint pain
- Joint stiffness (especially progressive)
- Loss of range of joint motion
- Joint tenderness
- Swelling of joints
Remedies To Prevent Arthritis:
1. Get Enough Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fats with numerous health benefits for your body. And most importantly, they reduce your risk of joint inflammation, which decreases your risk of arthritis.
So stock up on some salmon or trout, or omega-3 supplements on your next trip to the grocery store, the benefits go far beyond just arthritis prevention.
2. Manage Your Weight:
You may not think of this, but arthritis symptoms in your back – or other your knees – can be caused by being overweight. Think about it this way: when you’re overweight or obese, the force on your knees as you take each step increases at least three-fold, minimally.
That’s why overweight women are statistically more likely to get arthritis in their knees. To decrease your risk, just be sure to manage your weight and maintain it within a healthy range. Diet and exercise will go a long way, but don’t be afraid to see a professional nutritionist or consult your doctor if you want some extra help.
5. Gynecological Cancer:
Gynecological issues often go untreated most of the time, until they develop into a much more severe issue. And for a simple reason: because they aren’t caught in time. Be sure to look out for these gynecological cancer symptoms.
- Pelvic pain or pressure
- Itching or burning of the vulva
- Increased urination or painful urination
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
Remedies to Prevent Gynecological Cancer:
1. Stop Smoking, ASAP:
Here’s a statistic that will shock you: Smoking increases the risk of at least 14 different cancers (National Cancer Institute). That’s right, 14 different cancers! That’s because smoking damages almost every organ in your body, and causes irreparable damage that even passes down through your genes through a type of gene expression called epigenetics.
2. Make Sure You See The Right Doctor:
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of gynecological cancer, you should go see a doctor. The issue is, many people don’t know the difference between an obstetrician and a gynecologist. An obstetrician, or ob/gyn, is a doctor that specializes in prenatal care: think pregnancy and childbirth. A gynecologist focuses specifically on diseases of the female sexual organs. So while they both deal with the female reproductive system, they’re two very different specialities.
In conclusion, while there’s diseases that affect millions of women each year, just be sure to watch out for these common symptoms. You know how the saying goes: the best way to treat a disease is to prevent it. And there’s no better incentive to catch a disease early, than that of your own health.
As always, may you stay forever young.