Women's Health - Knowledge is Power! Be Intentional!
Updated: Jan 8, 2019
Women's health refers to the health of women, which differs from that of men in many unique ways. It is the branch of medicine that focuses on the treatment and diagnosis of diseases and conditions that affect a woman's physical and emotional well-being. These include but are not limited to Heart Disease, Hypertension, High Cholesterol, Obesity, Breast Cancer, Diabetes, Gynecological Health, Depression and Anxiety, Autoimmune Disorders and Pregnancy issues.
In the United States, Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death among women, causing 1 in 4 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute!
The most common cause of heart disease is narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart itself. This is called coronary artery disease, and it happens slowly over time. It’s the major reason people have heart attacks. Heart diseases that affect women more than men include
-Coronary microvascular disease (MVD) - a problem that affects the heart's tiny arteries
-Broken heart syndrome - extreme emotional stress leading to severe but often short-term heart muscle failure
The most common symptom of a heart attack in women is some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But it is not always severe or the most prominent symptom, particularly in women. At times women may even have a heart attack without chest pain. The symptoms that are unrelated to chest pain, include:
· Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
· Shortness of breath
· Pain in one or both arms
· Nausea or vomiting
· Lightheadedness or dizziness
· Unusual fatigue
Women may have symptoms of a heart attack when they are asleep or resting. Mental stress also may trigger heart attack symptoms in women.
Although several traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease — such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity — affect women and men, other factors may play a bigger role in the development of heart disease in women. For example, risk factors may include:
· Mental stress
· Broken heart syndrome
· Certain chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy for cancer
· Pregnancy complications
The older a woman gets, the more likely she is to get heart disease. However, women of all ages should be informed about and aware of this condition.
All women can take steps to prevent or reduce the risk of heart disease including:
· Quit or don't start smoking
· Exercise regularly.
· Maintain a healthy weight
· Eat a healthy diet that includes whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and lean meats. Avoid saturated or trans-fat, added sugars, and high amounts of salt.
Women also need to take prescribed medications appropriately, such as blood pressure medications, blood thinners and aspirin. In addition, they will need to better manage other conditions that are risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
_ Telicia Scott, PA-C