In the modern age, as much as we have technologically developed, our lifestyles have led to various health problems. We have adopted lifestyles which are not in tandem with our evolutionary programming the hunter-gatherer lifestyles followed by our ancestors. These health issues are proving to be a major healthcare burden, economically as well as personally.
Here are a few pointers on the health issues us women should be aware of, and safeguard against for a long and healthy life:
According to the CDC, in women, about 29% of deaths are due to heart conditions. Cindy Pearson, executive director of National Women’s Health Network, says that the real trouble is in precocious disability and death. In India a lot of women suffer from heart disease but are often undiagnosed till it’s too late. They suffer from the symptoms – breathlessness, not being able to walk up a flight of stairs. Other symptoms are chest pain, jaw pain, nausea, shoulder ache, vomiting.
One of the most common heart diseases in India is stroke – the most common cause of which is diabetes and hypertension. Fast food, lack of exercise, workload and lack of diet control are other reasons.
This is a problem responsible for 1% of deaths worldwide- and it especially seems to affect Indian women. Dr. Ashok Vaid, oncologist at Vedanta Medicity, says that changing lifestyles, weight issues and genetic factors might be held responsible as risk factors for breast cancer.
Regular mammograms and health checkups, encouraging of breast-feeding, regular exercise and eating fruits for antioxidants are some of the measures useful for preventing breast cancer.
Polycystic ovarian disease ( PCOD )
A common endocrinal disorder affecting women of reproductive age, which is anywhere between 12-45 years. Small cysts develop in the ovaries, which may lead to problem in conceiving for women suffering from this condition. Symptoms are irregular or no menses, hirsutism, acne, hair loss, infertility, obesity, hyperinsulinemia etc. Hormonal changes during puberty, menses and pregnancy can cause PCOD.
Solution is exercise for more than 160 minutes each week, diet control, weight control and health check-ups to prevent this problem.
Female Sexual Arousal Disorder (FSAD)
This is a condition where women can’t get aroused despite wanting to have sexual intercourse. Dr. Rajan Bhonsle, HOD and Professor of Sexual Medicine at KEM Hospital and GS Medical College, says that the cause could lie in any of the four stages: Desire at the mental level, arousal at body level, penetration and orgasm.
One of the most common problems in women is osteoporosis, symptoms are back pain and bone frailty. Osteoporosis is more likely to happen in women than in men, and it occurs due to calcium deficiency. The National Osteoporosis Foundation in America states that 68% of 44 million Americans are women. The bone damage with increasing age in women can be repaired by calcium consumption and regular exercise. Risk factors for osteoporosis:
- Ethnicity – White and Asian women are more susceptible
- Family history
- Hormonal imbalance- estrogen loss and irregular menses
- Diet devoid of calcium and Vitamin D
- Some medications, alcohol abuse and smoking.
This seems to affect more women than men. The National institute of Mental Health has found that 12 million women are afflicted by depressive disorders, as opposed to 6 million men.
Strong community and family connections are said to be the natural way for women to prevent getting clinically depressed. Hormonal changes can also trigger depression – like postpartum depression or around menopause.