National Women’s Health Week serves as a reminder for women to make their health a priority and build positive health habits for life. The 20th annual National Women’s Health Week kicked off on Mother’s Day and is celebrated through May 18, 2019. Women are very different from men. Women, for example, develop autoimmune diseases like lupus and multiple sclerosis more often. And a woman’s heart attack symptoms may not feel like a man’s.
Women and Heart Disease
Nearly half of American adults have at least one of the key risk factors for heart disease: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking. Nearly 1 in 3 adults has high cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. High cholesterol can be hard to detect. It often shows no signs or symptoms. High blood pressure is a silent killer. Certain physical traits and lifestyle choices can put you at a greater risk for high blood pressure. With proper treatment and management, you can control your blood pressure.
Women and Strokes
Hypertension remains the single most important modifiable risk factor, accounting for nearly 48% of strokes. With eight in 10 people experiencing their first stroke having hypertension, getting your blood pressure checked is an important first step in controlling your stroke risk.
Research has shown that unhealthy behaviors such as physical inactivity, poor diet, and smoking have an adverse effect on health and increase your stroke risk. For example, smokers have an increased risk of stroke, up to two to four times, compared to a nonsmoker or those that have quit for longer than 10 years.
Beyond reducing your risk for stroke, knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke are equally important. Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a stroke and around 800,000 people will have a stroke in the United States this year alone.
A common misconception is that strokes occur only in older adults. Although your stroke risk increases with age, a stroke can happen to anyone at any time. About 15% of ischemic strokes occur in young adults and adolescents.
Women and Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that causes bones to become weak and break easily. Osteoporosis affects mostly older women, but prevention starts when you are younger. No matter your age, you can take steps to build bone mass and prevent bone loss. Broken bones from osteoporosis cause serious health problems and disability in older women. our risk for osteoporosis is higher if you:
- Are past menopause
- Have a family history of osteoporosis
- Are Mexican-American or white
- Do not get enough calcium and vitamin D
- Do not get enough physical activity
- Have an eating disorder
- Have a health problem that raises your risk of getting osteoporosis
- Drink too much alcohol
Women’s Health Checklist
- Annual wellness exam
- Bone mineral density test
- Clinical breast exam – women 20-39
- Mammogram – women 40 and older
- Cervical cancer screening – women 20-65
- Colonoscopy – women 50 and older
- Blood glucose test for Diabetes
- Eye exam – women 40 and older
- Hearing test
- Dental exams and cleanings – every 6-12 months
- Blood pressure – starting at age 20
- Cholesterol test – starting at age 20
- Immunizations (flu, shingles, pneumonia)
Women’s Health Checkup
Be proactive and make an appointment with your healthcare provider during National Women’s Health Week. Women often put themselves on the back burner. This is especially true for working moms. So make time to take care of yourself. See your doctor regularly for preventive care. He or she will get to know you and your family history. And you’ll get important screenings and immunizations.
To make an appointment with our Nurse Practioner Queenester Gray, or Dr. Khan, call 708-352-0330. LaGrange Medical Center location is 6170 Joliet Road in Countryside, Illinois. We are open 6 days a week – Monday through Saturday.