A lot goes into protecting your health as a woman. It seems like every day there’s a new report warning of health dangers and offering up solutions for preventing ailments. There’s so much information it can get overwhelming and confusing.
Trying to live your life around every possible disease or health issue is far from realistic. If you only do one thing for your health this year make it one of the tips below.
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
The most obvious danger related to alcohol and drug use is addiction. For most women, the assistance of outpatient drug rehab centers is needed to address an addiction and overcome it. However, there are other health risks even if you don’t become addicted.
Alcohol has been shown to significantly increase the risk of some cancers. Breast cancer, colorectal cancer, head and neck cancers, liver cancer and esophageal cancer are all more likely if you regularly consume alcohol.
Alcohol consumption can also make other medical conditions worse. One concern for women is alcohol’s negative effect on calcium production, which can lead to the development of osteoporosis.
Take a Daily Supplement
As women age, bone density decreases at a more rapid rate than their male counterparts. It’s a serious health concern that increases the risk of broken bones and related injuries.
Osteoporosis develops because the body doesn’t produce as much bone as it did previously. This decreases bone density, making bones more brittle and susceptible to injury.
The condition can occur in men and women, however, postmenopausal women are more at risk than any other group. After menopause, there’s a drop in estrogen production, a hormone that protects against osteoporosis.
Women can negate the effects of age and decreased estrogen production with a daily supplement that contains adequate doses of calcium, vitamin D and magnesium. Smoking cigarettes and a poor diet are two other contributors to osteoporosis that should be avoided.
Schedule an Annual Gynecologist Visit
Your gynecologist can act as a primary care physician that gauges your general health. They will also provide additional health services specifically for women. During the appointment, your doctor should check for breast lumps, provide cancer screening tests and give guidance on breast cancer prevention.
If you haven’t yet had children, annual visits to the gynecologist are also key for your reproductive health. Some health issues can be caught early and managed so that they don’t impact your ability to have children.
If you do find that you have a disease that could affect pregnancy like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) you and your partner will be able to plan in advance to avoid serious problems down the road.
Don’t Ignore Heart Health
Far too many women still think cardiovascular health is a concern solely for men. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine estimates that one in four women in the U.S. will die of heart disease. Instances of heart disease and heart attacks have been increasing among females of all ages, even as young as 29 years old. Today heart disease is the number one killer of women.
The risk of heart disease increases with age, but women should also be aware that menopause may also play a role. Studies have found that the rate of heart attacks increases for women 10 years after menopause. It’s believed the drop in estrogen production has an effect on the flexibility and health of blood vessels.
Obesity and diabetes are two other culprits behind the rise in cardiovascular disease among women, especially those under 40 years of age. Cleaning up your diet and getting to a healthy BMI are two things every woman should start doing at a young age.
Talk to Someone
Mental health is one of the most pressing women’s health issues today. Women are more likely than men to suffer from anxiety and depression, which is difficult enough to deal with on its own. But mental health issues can also have an impact on physical and cognitive health.
Stress can cause everything from bruxism to panic attacks. Some health experts believe chronic stress also puts women at an increased risk for serious illnesses such as Alzheimer’s.
The stigma of seeing a therapist is a thing of the past. Seeing a mental health professional could be critical for your overall health. Because many health insurance plans now recognize therapy as a health need, seeing a mental health specialist is just as affordable as seeing any other medical professional.