- Heart disease.
- Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for women. 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- Maternal health issues.
From iron-deficiency anemia to high blood pressure, the changes a woman experiences during pregnancy can impact a woman’s health.
- Urinary tract infections.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) occur when germs get into the urethra and start to multiply. They are particularly common in women, as they have a shorter urethra than a man does. This decreases the length bacteria has to travel in order to reach the bladder. Symptoms of a UTI 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.
- 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.
About 80 percent of sexually active men and women will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives. “HPV is incredibly common. There are more than 100 types, with at least 14 linked to cancer,” says Dr. Kiley. The most high-risk types in the United States are types 16 and 18, both of which are associated with precancer of the cervix.
- Breast cancer.
Second only to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women. In fact, American 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.
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