10 Mar 5 Women’s Health Issues Every Woman Should Know
March is Women’s History Month, and in honor of this month-long celebration of the contributions of women and girls around the world, we’re raising awareness for women’s health.
From most to least overlooked, here are the top five women’s health issues that no woman of any age should ignore.
1. Alcohol Abuse
If you’re surprised to see this at the top of a list discussing women’s health issues, you’re not alone. Most people think of alcoholism as a man’s disease, but more than 5 million women in the United States struggle with alcohol abuse and addiction. And though men are statistically more likely to become addicted, the side effects of misuse and abuse are more harmful and longer-lasting in women than in men.
If you think you or a woman you know might have a problem with alcohol, click here for a confidential—and fully anonymous—questionnaire, brought to you by the National Council for Alcohol and Drug Dependence.
Though its female mortality rate is only about 3 percent in the US, diabetes affects more than 12.5 million women aged 20 and over, and more than twice as many people in the general population overall. But what makes this women’s health issue so dangerous to overlook is that by the time its discovered, irreparable damage—though the extent varies—to the pancreas and/or blood sugar metabolism has already been done. Insulin resistance and pre-diabetes are also precursors for this disease, and women’s health issue #1 (alcohol abuse) only makes things worse.
If you or a woman you know is exhibiting signs of diabetes, please make an appointment with your doctor, followed by immediate lifestyle changes, right away.
3. Heart Disease
Unlike diabetes, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women (and men) in the United States. But despite a similar prevalence between sexes for the disease, women are more likely to die after a heart attack. This is possibly attributable to the fact that 1.) Women are less likely to expect to develop heart disease and 2.) Women are therefore less likely to have access to emergency care and cholesterol-lowering drugs. Also, women’s health issues #1 and #2 are contributing factors.
Don’t assume anything, ladies. Make sure your heart-health is on point and discuss any symptoms with your doctor right away.
4. Autoimmune Diseases
About 75 percent of all autoimmune diseases occur in women. These conditions include lupus, multiple sclerosis, thyroid diseases, Celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, and many more. And while these conditions are far less likely to be fatal, they are far more likely than any other women’s health issue to be crippling in nature. They are chronic and yet frequently misdiagnosed, causing sufferers to ignore their symptoms or self-medicate. Meanwhile, their bodies continue to attack themselves and do further damage because over-the-counter remedies don’t solve immune-system problems.
If you have any recurring symptoms or signs of a possible autoimmune condition, seek help right away.
5. Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases (also sexually transmitted infections) are the most stigmatized of all women’s health issues—yet they affect more women than women’s health issues 1 – 4 combined. The only reason they don’t rank higher on this list is because they are curable or treatable (with the exception of herpes and HIV). Left untreated, however, they potentially can do a lot of long-term damage, such as causing internal scarring and infertility, and increasing your risk of reproductive cancers.
If you think you may have an STD, please read this fact sheet on the signs and symptoms of sexually transmitted infections or take this confidential quiz. Then, take any responsible actions necessary to ensure your health.
VitaStrength wishes you a Happy Women’s History Month—now, share this with every woman you know!