June 2, 2018

Women have unique health needs. In fact, some conditions that affect both sexes can affect women differently than men. It’s crucial for women to understand their specific health needs at every age.

The unique health needs of women don’t stop at reproductive health; both cancer and heart disease — among other conditions — are common in women and require special attention.

Cancer

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breast cancer and cervical cancer are two of the most common cancers that affect women. These two types of cancer kill an estimated half a million women across the world each year. Annual health screenings for both breast and cervical cancer are important for early detection.

Heart Disease

The leading cause of death for women in the United States is heart disease, and women are more likely to die from a heart attack than men. Seeing your primary care physician for regular checkups allows you to detect and address the signs of heart disease before they become a major health risk.

Reproductive Health and Pregnancy

This broad but important area of women’s health includes everything from pregnancy and menopause to issues such as uterine fibroids, pelvic floor disorders and urinary tract health.

Women must look out for abnormal symptoms such as bleeding between menstrual periods, breast lumps, breast shape changes, abnormal vaginal discharge, frequent urination or pain during sex. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, speak to your family doctor or gynecologist right away.

Stroke

The National Stroke Association reports that significantly more women suffer strokes each year than men — 55,000 more. This statistic makes having a stroke the third leading cause of death in women in the United States. Men and women share many risk factors for stroke, but some risks are unique to women: the use of birth control, pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, frequent migraines and post-menopausal weight issues.

Mental Health

Although mental health issues affect all people of all ages, depression and anxiety are more common in women. For example, some types of depression occur because of hormonal changes.

Feelings of isolation, hopelessness or being overwhelmed are common with mental health issues, but these conditions are treatable. If you are unsure about where to go for help, contact your family doctor immediately to ask questions and discuss treatment options.

If you are a woman struggling with any of these important health issues, seek help from your family doctor as soon as possible. Women face unique health risks, but early detection and prevention can make a significant difference. Don’t wait — call your doctor today

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