Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava
Some studies prove that due to the strong immune system women develop with time because of their role in giving birth and caring for their offspring, women are often less susceptible to a range of illnesses that men are easily vulnerable to. As unbelievable as it might be, yet women are known to have better memory as compared to men. It can be difficult for men to remember the people they have met, but the brain of a woman unconsciously memorizes the face and features of people and remember it for a long time.
The body structure of women is more flexible than that of men. The muscles and tendons of women contain more amount of a protein called elastin, which increases the ability of their muscles, organs, and skin to stretch more as compared to men. While the unique characteristics of a woman’s anatomy are a fact to behold, yet this uniqueness exposes them to certain diseases, which men can’t be affected by.
Hence, it is vital for all of us to be aware of the ailments that can strike women, so as to assist them in getting the right treatment. Knowing the symptoms, causes, and possible treatment options for women-specific illnesses helps in getting medical attention at the right time.
In this first episode dedicated solely to women’s health, we’ll discuss the Top 3 diseases that women can be afflicted by and what preventive measures can take to keep them protected from the conditions we are about to discuss.
The Top 3 health issues women face:
Heart diseases are one of the most common illnesses that affect women. The term heart disease includes several heart illnesses, such as – coronary artery disease (obstruction of blood vessels around the heart), peripheral artery disease (obstruction of blood vessels of arms and legs), arrhythmia (abnormal heart rate or rhythm), valvular heart disease (issues in the heart’s muscles or valves), and congestive heart failure (inefficient heart functions due to fluid buildup. Women become more prone to heart ailments after menopause. Menopause (the permanent end of the menstrual process) is a natural phase that occurs around the age of 40 or 50 and reduces the reproductive hormone in women.
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Pain in the neck, jaw, or throat
- Pain in the upper abdomen
- Upper back pain
- Nausea and fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- General weakness and sweating
- Swelling in the legs, feet, and ankles
- Unintentional weight gain
- Inability to sleep
- Heart palpitations
Preventive measures for women to improve heart health:
- Control your blood pressure
- Keep your cholesterol levels under control
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight
- Consume a healthy diet
- Stop or limit alcohol intake
- Quit smoking
- Manage stress
- Manage diabetes
- Get a sound sleep for at least seven to nine hours every day
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
PMS is a condition that occurs five to 11 days before the monthly menstruation cycle and affects the psychological and behavioral health of women. The effects of PMS go away as the menstruation cycle begins. PMS is known to be a common condition, which nearly 90% of all menstruating women experience before the start of their monthly periods. Although the exact cause of PMS is unknown, researchers believe that it happens due to change in the sex hormone and serotonin levels.
Symptoms of premenstrual syndrome include:
- Stomach pain and bloating
- Breast soreness
- Food cravings
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Inability to control emotions
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Extreme tiredness
- Sensitivity to light and/or sound
- Poor concentration
- Social withdrawal
Things to do to manage premenstrual syndrome:
- Consume a diet rich in complex carbohydrates like whole grains, whole wheat bread, cereals, barley, brown rice, beans, and lentils
- Eat food enriched with calcium and vitamin D
- Cut down the intake of fat, salt, and sugar
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol consumption
- Change your eating schedule. Try eating around six small meals throughout the day rather than two or three big meals
- Maintain healthy blood sugar levels
Breast cancer is a type of cancer in which the cells in the breasts start growing abnormally and out of control, giving rise to a tumor that can be felt as a lump in the breast and can also be seen through imaging diagnostics, such as an MRI, CT scan and X-ray. According to research conducted in 2020, the rate of breast cancer cases in India is rising higher than ever, as one in every 28 women is at risk of developing breast cancer.
Symptoms of breast cancer:
- A lump under the armpit or around the breast
- Breast inflammation
- Irritation or redness of breast skin
- Redness in the nipple area
- Pain in the nipple area or pulling in of the nipple
- Nipple discharge other than milk
- Change in the size of the breast
- Pain in any area of the breast
Preventive measures for breast cancer:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Do regular exercises
- Consult your doctor if you experience even a little discomfort
- Get regular breast cancer screenings, if you feel the onset of any symptom
- Eat more fruits and vegetables, especially green vegetables
- Stop consuming alcohol
- Stop smoking
- Avoid birth control pills, particularly after the age of 35 or if you are a smoker
- Avoid postmenopausal hormones
Women’s anatomy is very different from men’s and the risk of certain diseases is unique to each gender. The aforementioned conditions are some of the most common ones that necessitate immediate medical attention. If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms of the diseases we discussed, we recommend you take preventive measures and undergo an early diagnosis to identify and manage the condition effectively.
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