Recent studies have shown that women who work night shifts may be at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
This conclusion was arrived at by examining the medical records of women working for the Danish Army.
Another study conducted by the Mayo clinic found that obese women are more at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Night shifts and breast cancer risk
Researchers noted that women who worked night shifts three or more times a week over the course of 6 years or more, were more likely to develop breast cancer.
Personal habits and proclivities also factored here: women who were night owls were less affected whereas women who described themselves as “morning persons” were more affected.
Researchers looked at the possible explanation for this – one reason is the sleep deprivation that night shifts cause. This itself a health risk at several levels.
Then there is the fact that the body clock disturbances could also be responsible – they can cause changes in the hormone melatonin.
When women worked night shifts more than twice a week, their melatonin production was hampered and circadian rhythms were disrupted. Melatonin, known as the darkness or night hormone, could have certain cancer fighting properties, surmise researchers.
Obesity and rheumatoid arthritis risk
The disease of rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that results in stiffness, pain, reduction in range of motion and swelling of the joints and surrounding tissue. One of the risk factors of this disease is being female since two to three times as many women as men have the disease.
High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking are other risk factors that contribute to the disease. Risk factors also include vitamin D deficiency, sex hormones and oral contraceptives. Another significant risk factor is body weight. This is because of the fact that fat tissue could contribute to inflammation.
Problems persist after weight loss
Women, who think that their troubles are at an end when they lose weight, would be incorrect. New research has revealed that women continue to face a ‘fat bias’ even after they lose weight. Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa were exploring how harmful obesity stigma can be in fact.
When women lost weight and became the same size and weight as thinner colleagues, they were still viewed and perceived differently. There continues to be a certain amount of judgment that overweight women have to contend with and this persists even when they get to a normal weight range.