I try to stay aware of health issues women face so I can stay my healthiest and happiest as much as possible. While you can't avoid all health issues women face, doing what we can here and there makes a huge difference in helping each of us avoid disease and other health problems as much as possible. From everything from fertility risks, to cancer, there are multiple health issues women face today to be aware of. By being aware, you can take preventative measures that will keep you out of the doctor’s office as much as possible, and living your absolute best life.
One of the most common health issues women face today is PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome. This involves a hormonal imbalance in a woman’s body, where she produces too much testosterone, and not enough beneficial estrogens. This can show up in signs such as increased facial hair, depression, irregular periods, weight gain, thyroid issues, mood swings, problems sleeping, cravings for carbohydrates and fertility problems. Luckily, this condition can be treated with a low carbohydrate diet and possibly, medication. By monitoring insulin levels you can effectively reduce the hormones that contribute to stress, weight gain, and blood sugar problems that lead to mood problems, hormone imbalances and fertility problems. Talk to your OBGYN if you feel you have this health condition.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
With increased job stress, constant access to fast food and eating on the go, a more sedentary life and busy schedules, it’s easier than ever to develop Type 2 Diabetes, without even realizing you have it. Weight gain, blood sugar problems, fatigue, depression and hormonal signs can all signify you might have Type 2 Diabetes. If you eat a good bit of processed food, refined carbohydrates, sugar and unhealthy fats, chances are you might have Type 2 Diabetes and not even know it. Untreated, it can lead to heart failure, kidney failure and multitudes of other issues. Obesity also puts you at igh risk of Type 2 Diabetes. If you think you have Type 2 Diabetes, or your lifestyle might cause you to develop it, talk with your doctor to discuss treatment options.
3. Fertility Problems
Due to risks associated with Type 2 Diabetes, PCOS, stress, poor nutritional habits and more, fertility problems can become an issue for many women today. Fertility can be affected by a large amount of things, many of which many women aren’t even aware of. Some causes of fertility problems can occur from STDs, improper nutrient absorption, or be caused from exposure to environmental toxins, or from smoking. If you’re looking to conceive, be sure you stay aware of fertility risks you face, and do your best to take care of yourself in every form and fashion so you can conceive exactly when you’re ready to.
Many women already know of the cancer risks they face today, but still neglect to take action to stay on top of their cancer prevention. For instance, I am guilty of this due to the fact that I live an extremely healthy lifestyle, yet fail to get annual pap smears like I should, and don’t always discuss certain things with my doctor like I probably should. I am also around a good bit of secondhand smoke through family members, unfortunately. All of these things seem harmless, but put me at risk for cancer, even if they don’t seem like a big deal. Cancer is one of the most leading causes of death today in women, behind heart disease. To keep yourself safe and sound, take preventative methods as much as possible to stay on top of cancer prevention.
5. High Cholesterol
Due to high stress, secondhand smoke, poor diet, or lack of exercise, high cholesterol can occur before we know it. It can also come from certain hereditary risks, but every woman has the power to take action against high cholesterol, and should. High cholesterol can weaken the heart, and lead to heart disease. Constant stress and fast food intake are two of the quickest ways to develop high cholesterol. Be sure you eat healthy, stay active, stop smoking or don’t start, and practice stress-lowering activities such as yoga, meditation, walking, staying in touch with friends, or simply having some quiet time to yourself each day. Lowering your stress won’t cure an unhealthy diet, but it can greatly contribute to fighting high cholesterol.
6. Fatty Liver
Another issue many women face and aren’t aware of it, is a risk for a fatty liver. Now, don’t get offended here ladies! I’m not calling any of you fat, so don’t worry! Even women who are thin can develop a fatty liver, as it has nothing to do with your weight, though that can be a sign. Your liver is essentially your detox organ. It not only filters out the bad stuff but also burns fat. Think of your liver as a machine. When it can do its job, it runs smoothly. It gets rid of toxins and the less of this it has to do, the better. The less our liver has to work to take out the bad, the more it can provide energy to our bloodstream and essentially, burn fat in our body. When we burden our liver with toxic foods, alcohol, environmental toxins, and more, it becomes too busy trying to get rid of these things, and in the meantime, becomes known as a “fatty” liver. This is where fat builds up around the organs due to toxicity and it can easily be reversed. You need to take special vitamins that can help detox the liver, along with changing your diet and quitting smoking and drinking. A clean, alkaline diet is one of the best things you can do for your liver, along with adding foods like beets, carrots, ginger, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, and lemon. Milk thistle tablets, Vitamin C, green powders, and other herbal supplements can also help detoxify your liver. Be sure before you begin any supplements, you take precautions to choose healthy ones. Untreated, a fatty liver can lead to other problems, so stay on top of this health issue however possible. Exercising is also a sure fire way to combat a fatty liver alongside a healthy diet.
7. Heart Disease
As I’ve mentioned above, heart disease is the number one killer of women today. Do not put yourself at risk for heart disease, either from stress, diabetes, a poor nutrition and exercise regimen, untreated family health risks, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Stay on top of your heart health. It is critical to your life, and all aspects of your health. Eat a healthy diet full of whole foods, exercise, and be sure you manage your stress. Quit smoking and drinking if you already do, and eat enough calories so malnutrition is not an issue.
8. Eating Disorders
Sadly, eating disorders affect woman aged 11- 55 today in the largest numbers. Many of us never consider that eating disorders can be something we face, but we find ourselves caught up in one before we know what’s happening. Eating disorders are nothing to play around with, because they can lead to many health problems, including many of the ones already mentioned. It’s almost impossible to avoid developing an eating disorder, as many times, they come from stress. What I can tell you from experience is that you can stay on top of this issue by embracing other things to control your stress, not food, or lack of food. I know it is not that easy, but as someone who suffered for 15 years and bore repercussions such as early menopause, depression, malnutrition and more, I can tell you it is worth every effort you can make. For resources on prevention, you can visit the National Eating Disorders Association at: nationaleatingdisorders.org.
Without a doubt, one of the biggest health issues for women today is IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS involves poor digestion, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, poor nutrient absorption, and inconsistent bowel movements such as bouts of constipation and diarrhea. Not only is this painful and hard for women to deal with, but it also affects their social life in many ways as well. While IBS is not a deathly issue, it can make life painful, depressing, and embarrassing. Stress contributes to IBS for the most part, so managing your stress and eating a diet appropriate for IBS are the best ways to prevent it. IBS is not hereditary, or something you develop like cancer. Our digestive tracts host 90% of the nerves that connect to our brain, which mean when we are stressed, our digestive tracts are the first to take a hit. Over time, the digestive function can be altered by chronic stress. If IBS is an issue for you, luckily, there are treatments available, as well as resources for how to live a lifestyle that can help you manage IBS. One of my favorite websites is Help For IBS at :helpforibs.com.
I’m sure some of these health issues women face affect some of you, or people you might know. Hopefully, you and others you know can seek treatment and prevention to prevent further complications. Do you have one of these health issues?