When it comes to women’s health issues, some topics don’t get a lot of attention. For example, stroke and heart disease are often brought up in relation to men’s health, but the same attention isn’t always given to these issues when it comes to women’s health. However, these conditions are common among women, too.
Fortunately, at Generations Family Practice in Cary and Raleigh, North Carolina, our providers are very knowledgeable about women’s health issues, even the ones that don’t get discussed a lot. In this blog, they go over some key women’s health issues that often fly under the radar.
Heart attacks and strokes happen to both men and women. However, did you know that women are more likely to die at a younger age or become disabled as a result of heart disease? And, did you know that stroke is the third leading cause of death in women and kills more women than men?
In the case of heart attacks, part of the discrepancy lies in the fact that women and health care providers may not readily recognize the symptoms, because they can look very different in a male patient than a female patient. Men are more likely to display the classic chest pain symptoms, while women may experience varied symptoms, such as back pain, nausea, or even jaw pain.
When it comes to stroke, more women actually suffer from this than men. Furthermore, women have unique risk factors for stroke. For example, certain types of birth control medications can increase the risk for stroke as can pregnancy-related high blood pressure.
Another women’s health issue that’s typically not talked about is recurrent urinary tract infections or UTIs. Like heart disease and stroke, men and women get urinary tract infections. However, because of anatomical differences, women get UTIs 30 times more often than men. Furthermore, about 25-30% of women who get a UTI experience a recurrent infection within six months.
Osteoporosis, which is a condition that weakens bones, is another health issue that shows up much more dramatically in women than in men. After age 50, it’s estimated that one in four men will break a bone due to osteoporosis, but that number jumps to one in two for women. In fact, osteoporosis is so common in women that it exceeds the rates of stroke, heart attack, and breast cancer combined.
When it comes to women’s health issues, it’s not just physical conditions that we don’t talk about enough, it's also mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Again, the differences between men and men are pronounced. Annually, about 12 million women are affected by depression, which is in contrast to about 6 million men.
The prevalence of anxiety is equally sobering. During their lifetime, women are about twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Body chemistry and hormonal changes account for some of the statistical discrepancies between men and women.
However, another part of the issue regards the cultural stressors and life conditions, such as juggling work and home responsibilities, caregiving responsibilities, and inequities in status and power that make women more likely to live in poverty than men.
A great way for women to keep their health on track is to meet regularly with their health care providers. At Generations Family Practice, our providers offer a number of services to our female patients, including well-woman exams.
With a well-woman exam, your provider is able to evaluate your overall health, make adjustments to ongoing treatments, and catch things early that may be amiss. Your provider will perform a comprehensive physical exam, take your vitals, such as your blood pressure, and perform any necessary screenings. Furthermore, you can discuss any health issues or concerns you may have.
To schedule a well-woman exam, or to learn more about how they can help you, book an appointment online or over the phone with Generations Family Practice today.