Modern living and our subsequent lifestyles have given rise to a number of health risks and other concerns, especially for women.
It is therefore important that women know what is going on with their bodies and take control of their health.
The first step to taking control of your health is to know your family’s medical history. As many the medical conditions that affect women today are hereditary, knowing your family’s medical history you give you a better idea about what to look out for. There are also diseases that aren’t necessarily hereditary, but tend to affect more women than men.
Here are three common diseases that every women should be aware of and take steps to avoid…
#1. Cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease kills six times more women than breast cancer. The symptoms of cardiovascular diseases are easily missed by most women because people assume that chest pain is the first sign.
Other reported symptoms include continuous jaw pain, shoulder ache, shortness of breath and/or vomiting due to a cardiovascular condition.
Smoking, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, diabetes and high blood cholesterol are all risk factors that could lead to heart disease. And around 20% of women who have one or more relatives who have suffered from heart disease are at risk of developing a cardiovascular disease themselves.
You can lower your chances of suffering from cardiovascular disease by changing your lifestyle at an early age. There is evidence that shows if women in their 20s and 30s eat a healthy and well-balanced diet, and exercise daily, they can lower their chances of cardiovascular disease by up to 30%.
READ MORE | Make The Move To Natural Eating
#2. Breast cancer
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women (lung cancer is the first).
While a staggering 70% of women who have had breast cancer had no family history of the disease, you are more at risk of contracting breast cancer if your family has a history of the disease.
You are also more at risk if you are obese, consume alcohol excessively, or if you had an early abnormal breast biopsy or if you had early onset menstruation (before the age 12) or you menstruate after the age of 55.
Your best chance of preventing breast cancer is to have regular screenings and consult your doctor about your chances of contracting the disease. A regular self-examination is also a good idea because it will make you more aware should something seem out of place. You should also take control of your weight, exercise regularly and kick any smoking habit.
READ MORE | Beating Breast Cancer With Exercise
Women are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis due to the hormonal changes their bodies go through during menopause. Statistics show that one in three women over 50 will suffer from osteoporosis.
Women who drink a large amount of coffee, alcohol and are excessive smokers are at greater risk. Those who have fallen prey to eating disorders such as anorexia are also more at risk of developing osteoporosis.
Resistance exercise helps to increase bone density and helps to limit the loss of bone mass after menopause.
Consuming an adequate amount of calcium will also help to prevent osteoporosis. Good sources of calcium include dairyproducts, leafy green vegetables, nuts and seafood. Vitamin D is an essential part of preventing osteoporosis because it aids with calcium absorption.
READ MORE | Don’t Take Bone & Joint Health For Granted
Know your health status
By knowing which diseases you stand a greater risk of developing and knowing how to prevent and/or treat them will make your journey to a healthy and fit life that much easier.
With so much information, helpful services and preventative interventions available to us today, there is no excuse for not taking charge and making your health your main priority.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.