8 Common Health Issues Women Should Know
On March 8th, International Women’s Day is when we celebrate incredible women all over the world for their influence, their strength, their brains, their love, and their beauty. A woman plays many roles throughout her life, especially when she becomes a mother, she inevitably takes care of the health and wellness of the whole family. But who is there to safeguard her health and well-being? While everyone’s looking for ways to celebrate this special day, here’s a reminder to all women to maintain good health and to protect yourself from these top 8 common health concerns.
Over the years, the prevalence of heart disease among Malaysian women is catching up, leading to the nation’s number one killer. The most dangerous factor that causes heart attack and stroke is the presence of narrowed or blocked blood vessels. And what’s especially dangerous about heart disease for women is the delayed onset of symptoms, that often appear much later than seen in men. Make sure to do an annual health check and to maintain a regular blood cholesterol level by consuming balanced meals and healthy fats.
Osteoporosis is often known as a “silent disease” as bone loss occurs without symptoms in most patients until fractures occur. In the early stages of bone loss, you usually won’t feel pain or have no symptoms. But once bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you may feel back pain, loss of height over time, with an accompanying stooped posture and fracture of the vertebrae, wrists, hips or other bones with a minor injury. Get adequate calcium and vitamin D, exercise and avoid smoking, alcohol and limit caffeine to prevent osteoporosis.
Metabolic syndrome is not a disease, but a cluster of health conditions such as abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia (elevation of lipids in the blood), glucose intolerance, and hypertension, which could lead to more serious conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Practice a healthy lifestyle, eat balanced meals, exercise, drink more water and sleep early. Maintain a healthy weight range to reduce risk factors.
1 in 30 Malaysian women will have breast cancer, but the majority of women do not routinely check their breasts or go for annual screenings. Early detection is very important, as the survival rate at an early stage is higher. A healthy diet can lower the risk of breast cancer. Eat more fruits and vegetables and limit alcohol intake.
Ovarian and Cervical Cancer
Both ovarian and cervical cancer are among the top common cancers amongst Malaysian women. Both are difficult to be detected early, but cervical cancer can be detected through pap smears and prevented with vaccinations. The annual health check is crucial for detection and immediate action.
Fertility Issues (endometriosis, PCOS)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 10% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 struggle with getting pregnant and/or staying pregnant. Some of the underlying reasons why women may be having issues with fertility are endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Endometriosis is when the kind of tissue that normally lines the uterus grows somewhere else, and can cause pain, infertility and very heavy periods.
PCOS happens when a woman’s ovaries or adrenal glands produce more male hormones than normal. Women who are obese have a higher risk of developing PCOS.
It’s being reported that mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disease affect more women than men. Mental health can also be a little more common in women due to the possibility of developing postpartum depression and depression tied to menstruation.
Vaginal infections or inflammation of the vagina are very common. It can be caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites or viruses growing in and around your vulva and vagina. Burning, itching, and unpleasant odor are just some of the common symptoms of vaginal infections. While some vaginal infections are caused by sexually transmitted diseases, other very common ones are not. Hence, it is important to practice good hygiene and consume probiotic-rich food and supplements.
Most importantly, dear all women, taking care of yourself should always be your top priority. Don’t forget to practice a healthy lifestyle while rocking the world!
Written by: Jasmine Lim
(Love Earth Nutritionist)
[Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietics (major) &
Food Science (minor) lowa State University, USA]