The last week of September is dedicated as National Women’s Health and Fitness Week. Each year, organizations across the world recognize this week by participating in events and raising awareness for women’s health. In honor of National Women’s Health and Fitness Week, we’re talking about the most common female health risks and ways to prevent and reduce them.
There may not be a cure for these risks but catching and monitoring health issues early can decrease the severity, and even save your life.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer globally among both men and women, after lung cancer, and makes up 12.3 percent of all cancers. Women can’t prevent breast cancer, but by knowing your family’s medical history and staying on top of breast exams, it can be detected early.
A mammography can detect tumors before they can be felt, so screening is your best bet for catching breast cancer in its earliest stages. Doctors recommend women 40 years and older have a mammogram done every one or two years, while women under 40 with a family history of breast cancer should speak to their healthcare provider about when mammograms are advisable.
It’s important to establish a self-exam routine once a month, as 40 percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who felt a lump. During your self-exam, it’s essential to check your entire breast and armpit area for any thickening, knots, or lumps. If you feel anything that raises concerns, call your healthcare provider for further evaluation, but don’t panic—8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous.
Heart Disease and Stroke
The Women’s Heart Foundation reports that 8 million women in the U.S. are living with heart disease. Although commonly thought of as a man’s disease, each year more women die worldwide from strokes than men, and almost as many women as men die of heart disease. Women aren’t likely to encounter a stroke as early in life as men, but they are at risk from 45-65 years old. Women are recommended to follow these guidelines to maintain a healthy lifestyle and reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke:
1. Lower your blood pressure
High blood pressure is one of the largest contributors to stroke and heart disease in both men and women. Ideally, women should strive to keep their blood pressure between 135/80 to 140/90. Avoiding these things can make a huge difference in maintaining your blood pressure:
- High-cholesterol foods
- Prolonged periods of immobility
2. Control your weight and exercise more
Although no one likes talking about their weight, it’s a vital factor in considering your health risks. Studies show that losing as little as ten pounds can decrease a woman’s risk of stroke and heart disease. While the ideal body mass index is 25 or less, you should work with your doctor to find a healthy BMI that’s realistic for you.
Exercising can help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure, but it also contributes to fighting stroke and heart disease on its own. Try to find 30 minutes, four to five times a week, to participate in moderately-intense exercise. If you don’t have 30 consecutive minutes, try breaking your activity up into 10 or 15-minute intervals a few times a day.
This National Women’s Health and Fitness Week, The Colony ER Hospital encourages women everywhere to take the time to examine their health and set new wellness goals. We’re here for the women of our community 24/7, and we take pride in caring for you and your families.
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, The Colony ER Hospital and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on The Colony ER Hospital, or any one of our concierge-level, medical facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.