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Health issues specific to women’s health

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Improving women’s health challenges, access and prevention

Women, who are key in maintaining healthy families, access the health system more than men, both for themselves and on behalf of their children. Many become pregnant and give birth, a significant health event, then typically become their child’s primary caregiver, a role that greatly influences household health overall. Elder and long-term care issues affect women more often because they live longer; have higher rates of disability and chronic health problems; and lower incomes than men on average, which puts them at greater need for state and community resources, such as Medicaid.

Diseases and health challenges common to women

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Women experience unique health care challenges and are more likely to be diagnosed with certain diseases than men. Chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes—are the leading causes of death for women. Nearly half of adults—133 million people—have a chronic illness, and half of those have two or more chronic conditions. Thirty-eight percent of women suffer from one or more chronic diseases, compared to 30 percent of men.

While both men and women contract various conditions, some health issues affect women differently and more commonly. Furthermore, many women’s health conditions go undiagnosed and most drug trials do not include female test subjects. Even so, women bear exclusive health concerns, such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, menopause, and pregnancy.

Women suffer higher heart attack deaths compared to men. Depression and anxiety exhibit more frequently among female patients. Urinary tract conditions present more often in females, and sexually transmitted diseases can cause more harm to women. Among the conditions that present most frequently in women, the following eight illnesses pose considerable health risks.

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Among the conditions that present most frequently in women, the following eight illnesses pose considerable health risks.

o          Breast cancer, ovarian and cervical cancer., gynecological health.

o          Pregnancy issues, autoimmune diseases, depression and anxiety.

o          Health technology for women, heart diseases

Uterine fibroids in black women

Uterine fibroids are the most common noncancerous tumors in women of childbearing age. Fibroids are made of muscle cells and other tissues that grow in and around the wall of the uterus, or womb. The cause of fibroids is unknown. Risk factors include being overweight. The symptoms of fibroids include.

Heavy or painful periods or bleeding between periods. Feeling “full” in the lower abdomen. Urinating often. Pain during sex.

Lower back pain. Reproductive problems, such as infertility, multiple miscarriages, or early labor.

But some women will have no symptoms. That is why it is important to see your health care provider for routine exams.

Gynecologic cancer

CDC provides information and educational materials for women and health care providers to raise awareness about the five main gynecologic cancers. Gynecologic cancer is any cancer that starts in a woman’s reproductive organs. Gynecologic cancers begin in different places within a woman’s pelvis, which is the area below the stomach and in between the hip bones.

Cervical cancer begins in the cervix, which is the lower, narrow end of the uterus.

Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries, which are located on each side of the uterus.

Uterine cancer (womb cancer) begins in the uterus, the pear-shaped organ in a woman’s pelvis where the baby grows when a woman is pregnant.

HIV and breastfeeding

HIV can be spread through breast milk, so mothers who have HIV should not breast-feed their babies.

HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus. HIV affects specific cells of the immune system. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infection anymore. The human body cannot get rid of HIV—that means once a person has HIV, he or she has it for life.

There is no cure at this time, but with proper medical care, the virus can be controlled. HIV is the virus that can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS. AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection, when a person’s immune system is severely damaged.

Women who are infected with HIV typically get it by having sex with a man who is infected or by sharing needles with an infected person. Women of minority races/ethnicities are especially affected, and black or African American women are the most affected group.

Chronic bladder condition resulting in recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder or surrounding pelvic region. People with this condition usually have inflamed or irritated bladder walls that can cause scarring and stiffening of the bladder. This can affect anyone; however, it is more common in women than men. Some people have some or none of the following symptoms:

Abdominal (stomach) or pelvic mild discomfort. Frequent urination.

A feeling of urgency to urinate. Feeling of abdominal or pelvic pressure. Tenderness., Intense pain in the bladder or pelvic region. Severe lower abdominal pain that intensifies as the urinary bladder fills

Polycystic ovary syndrome happens when a woman’s ovaries or adrenal glands produce more male hormones than normal. One result is that cysts (fluid-filled sacs) develop on the ovaries. Women who are obese are more likely to have PCOS. Women with PCOS are at increased risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. Symptoms may include

Infertility. Pelvic pain. Excess hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, thumbs, or toes. Baldness or thinning hair.

Acne, oily skin, or dandruff.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

STDs are infections that you can get from having sex with someone who has the infection. The causes of STDs are bacteria, parasites, and viruses. There are more than 20 types of STDs.

Most STDs affect both men and women, but in many cases the health problems they cause can be more severe for women. If a pregnant woman has an STD, it can cause serious health problems for the baby.

If you have an STD caused by bacteria or parasites, your health care provider can treat it with antibiotics or other medicines. If you have an STD caused by a virus, there is no cure, but antiviral medication can help control symptoms. Sometimes medicines can keep the disease under control. Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not completely eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading STDs.

Female Genital Mutilation

Sexual violence

Sexual Violence (SV) is a significant problem. SV refers to sexual activity where consent is not obtained or freely given. Anyone can experience SV, but most victims are female. The person responsible for the violence is typically male and is usually someone known to the victim. The person can be, but is not limited to, a friend, coworker, neighbor, or family member

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious, preventable public health problem that affects millions of women. The term intimate partner violence describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.

Health issues every woman should understand

Scientists are increasing their understanding of the difference between the health needs of men and women. The truth is, your biological make-up impacts your predisposition to certain health concerns., Here are some of the most prevalent health concerns impacting women, and what you can do to manage your risk:

1.  Heart disease.

Symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain, shortness of breath and weakness in arms. Women are also likely to experience shortness of breath, and nausea or vomiting. However, women may not recognize their symptoms as a heart attack, and dismiss it as working out too hard or having heartburn. And while menopause does not cause heart disease, certain risk factors are more common after menopause, such as higher blood pressure and cholesterol, and lower estrogen.

2.  Stroke.

Each year stroke affects 55,000 more women than men. There are two types of stroke: hemorrhagic, or bleeding in the brain, and ischemic, or the blockage of a blood vessel that causes impaired blood flow. Although symptoms may vary depending on the underlying cause of stroke, hallmark symptoms include difficulty with speech and numbness of extremities.

There is also a link between pregnancy and stroke. Preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure during pregnancy, can increase your risk for stroke. Neurologic events in which blood clot disorders are more likely to happen because of hypercoagulation, or excessive blood clotting, which can also occur during pregnancy. These blood clots can then restrict blood flow to your brain.

3.  Diabetes.

Although diabetes is certainly not exclusive to women, it does increase the risk for heart disease by four times in women. Women are also more susceptible to diabetes-related complications, such as blindness, kidney disease and depression. Gestational diabetes is a condition that can occur during pregnancy in which your glucose level goes up and other complications develop.

This occurs in at least 3 in 100 women, and treatment may include a careful diet, exercise, blood glucose monitoring, insulin injections and oral medication.

Diabetes can also cause difficulties during pregnancy, including miscarriage and birth defects. Special testing and monitoring may be needed for pregnant women who have diabetes, particularly those dependent on insulin. To lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, try to maintain a healthy weight, exercise frequently and quit smoking.

4.  Maternal health issues.

From iron-deficiency anemia to high blood pressure, the changes a woman experiences during pregnancy can impact a woman’s health.

“Women with diabetes or high blood pressure should have these conditions under the best control possible when they plan to conceive.” Those with high-risk conditions, like major cardiac (heart) disorders and neurological issues, should discuss their care plan with their physician. And, women should not conceive immediately after having weight loss surgery.

5.  Urinary tract infections.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) occur when germs get into the bladder and start to multiply. They are particularly common in women, as they have a shorter opening than a man does. This decreases the length bacteria has to travel in order to reach the bladder. Symptoms of a UTI (urinary tract infection) include frequent urination, pain or burning when urinating, and cloudy urine. While a UTI can go away on its own, a physician can prescribe antibiotics if necessary. If UTIs become a recurring problem, other tests can reveal if the urinary tract is normal.

6.  Sexual health.

There are more than 30 types of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). One of the most common, human papillomavirus (HPV), can be prevented with the HPV vaccine.

Cervical cancer

was once one of the most common causes of death in women. Now, with the invention of the Pap smear, providers can detect precancerous (early cells) and deliver treatment to eliminate them, dramatically reducing the rate of cervical cancer. “The whole purpose is to detect an abnormality before it becomes cancerous.” If significant precancer (early diagnose) is detected,

7.  Breast cancer.

Second only to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women. In fact, women have a 12 percent chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime.

Monthly self-examinations can help you identify any changes in your breasts to share with your primary provider. This is in addition to following your yearly scheduled mammogram, which should start at age 40. For those who carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which increase the risk for breast cancer, your physician might recommend 3D mammography, which produces highly detailed images. You can manage risks by making healthy lifestyle choices, such as exercising and quitting smoking.

8.  Osteoporosis. (weaken bones)

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes your bones to weaken, making them susceptible to fractures. Postmenopausal women are at higher risk for fractures associated with osteoporosis. Other risk factors can include certain medications, early menopause, a low body mass index (BMI), cancer treatment and genetics. You can offset these risks by increasing your calcium intake, staying active with appropriate weight-bearing exercises, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol use.

Life after Menopause

Menopause begins in the late 40s and early 50s in most women. It officially begins when a woman goes a full year without menstruating. During this time, estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate. As estrogen levels decrease, many tissues in the body – including the breasts – lose hydration and elasticity.

Around this time of life, children often leave home, elderly parents begin needing care and marriages are often affected by a partner’s medical issues or changing life goals. All of these factors lead to a high rate of depression and physical fatigue in many women.

As life expectancy increases, the number of diseases has also increased. Many women are affected by physical conditions like urinary problems and breast cancer. Osteoporosis, (high cholesterol) begin affecting many women after menopause.

In their elderly years in some countries many women experience the loss of friends and family members. Their physical strength and memory weaken, and many women end up living in solitude in their remaining years.

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