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Common women’s health issues you need to know more about

Common women’s health issues you need to know more about

You’re focused on getting the kids to school, yourself to work and the dog to the vet. With all of your to-dos, it can be hard to prioritize your health, but it’s important. Knowing about common women’s health issues and how to prevent them is a good place to begin.

Are you taking steps to protect your health? An annual checkup with your primary care provider can help you gauge your current health and identify ways to improve it.

Keep reading to learn more ways to protect your health

Breaking down women’s health issues

Many of the most common health issues affect both men and women. In fact, when you look at the top causes of death for both sexes, four of them are the same—heart disease, cancer, stroke and chronic lower respiratory illness.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among American men and women. It may sound like a single medical condition, but heart disease results in multiple conditions, including heart attack and heart failure. While it’s been seen as a “man’s disease,” heart disease can also affect women, and it causes more than 20% of deaths among American women.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death among women. Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in women and the second leading cause of cancer death. Colorectal, lung, ovarian, endometrial and cervical cancers are also common.

Heart disease and cancer are by far the most common conditions among women, but stroke, respiratory disease and Alzheimer’s disease round out the top five causes of death.

When it comes to women’s health, keep an eye on an alarming trend—a rise in maternal deaths. The maternal mortality rate has been increasing in recent years. Researchers aren’t quite sure what’s causing the increased number of deaths, which affects some populations, including Black women, more than others.

What you can do to keep yourself healthy

The information above may be a little sobering but helpful to know. There’s good news, too. In many cases, these conditions can be prevented with healthier lifestyle habits.

Take charge of your health with these tips:

Get the routine healthcare you need. Some medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, often cause no symptoms. That’s why you should see a primary care provider regularly. These medical visits allow your provider to get a good look at your health.

Move your body more. Are you getting the 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity recommended each week? Most people don’t. Protect your health by exercising most days of the week, aiming for 30 minutes a day of an activity such as brisk walking, jogging or swimming.

Fill your plate wisely. Half of your plate at meals should be filled with fruits and vegetables. The other half should contain a small portion of lean protein, such as chicken, fish or lentils, and a serving of whole grains. Limit your intake of saturated fat, sodium and added sugar.

Don’t smoke. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death. If you smoke, work with a medical provider to find a quit plan that will work for you. If you don’t smoke, don’t start—and don’t think that vaping is a healthier alternative, either.

Get plenty of quality sleep. Sleep is necessary to keep your body functioning at its best. Aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to maintain optimal health.

These five tips are a good step in the right direction when it comes to protecting your health. Talk with a medical provider about your personal health risk and what other ways you can lower your risk.

Women have unique health needs at every age and stage of life. Find a women’s health provider at Touro to help you through them all.