5 Things Every Woman Should Know About Her Health
While certain health issues affect us all, women have additional concerns that they should be aware of. Boost your health by learning 5 things every woman should know about her health.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer for women after skin cancer, affecting 1 in 8 women. Most of the time it occurs in women who have no family history. The good news is that early detection really does saves lives. The 5-year survival rate for women with stage 0 or stage 1 breast cancer is close to 100%. With education and by following the recommended early detection guidelines, the U.S. death rates from breast cancer have dropped 39% since 1989.
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women. According to the American Cancer Society, the strongest risk factor for ovarian cancer is a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. A first degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) with ovarian cancer increases your risk by 50%. Unfortunately, only about 20% of ovarian cancers are found early. Currently, the way it is most commonly detected is through a pelvic exam. It is recommended for women age 18 and older to have an annual pelvic exam, in which your physician will check for an enlarged ovary.
About 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the United States ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infertility means not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying or a woman who becomes pregnant but cannot stay pregnant. Couples who think they may be infertile should contact their family physician to determine whether they should begin testing or treatment.
About one in every eight women can expect to develop clinical depression during their lifetime, according to National Institute of Mental Health. Most frequently, it occurs in women ages 25-44. In addition, women experience depression at approximately twice the rate of men.
Depression can be caused by a variety of contributing factors – developmental, reproductive, hormonal, genetic and other biological differences, but also social factors. Things like stress, family responsibilities, the expectations of women, sexual abuse and poverty can also play a role.
Sadly, fewer than half of women who experience clinical depression will seek care. Feeling depressed is not “normal” for a woman. It is a common misconception that depression is normal for women during menopause or along with aging.
Violence Against Women
Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes every year according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Young women, low-income women and some minorities are disproportionately victimized by violence. In fact, women ages 20-24 are the most frequent victims of non-fatal domestic violence. Learn more about healthy relationships, setting boundaries and find domestic violence resources from the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
As women age, it is important to see their healthcare provider regularly. Once a year is recommended at a minimum, even if you feel perfectly healthy. Regular exercise (of mind and body) become increasingly important for older women. Take some time to learn about what to expect as you age, so you can make choices to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle that you can enjoy for years to come.