Elimination of women’s health issues has made great strides in the past 20 years, but as much as there is to celebrate, much remains of concern. Let’s look at the primary problems that continue on the list of conditions to be conquered. Statistics presented by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention tell us that cancer, injuries, heart disease, osteoporosis, and autoimmune diseases are among the top threats to women’s health.
To no one’s surprise, cancer ranks high in the litany of problems whose solutions remain elusive for scientists. Women most commonly are afflicted by either breast or cervical cancers. The greater portion of deaths from these two conditions occur in populations of countries that are typically low or middle income, where services like screening and prevention, as well as leading-edge treatment, are not readily available.
Also in the forefront of women’s health issues is injury. Fully one third of women in today’s world have been the victims of physical and/or sexual violence. These experiences affect not only their physical well-being but also inflict long-term damage mentally. As women are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression than men, this becomes even more relevant as a concern to be addressed.
Heart disease is ever present in health statistics for both men and women. Although a greater number of men succumb to heart disease, women are more often not correctly diagnosed with the condition. This leads to their living for years with impaired abilities and a lower quality of life.
Another, perhaps more surprising issue among women is osteoporosis, which is now considered a preventable disease in most cases. Doctors now are able to aid in prevention of osteoporosis through both guiding the behaviors of young women in their early years during which the bone develops, and by providing means of maintaining bone mass in later stages of life.
Autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and lupus, are destroyers of the body and its tissues. Women represent 3/4 of those afflicted by these chronic diseases that are causes of the disabilities of many women in America. These illnesses represent an area that begs for extensive research.
These are just a few of the leading health problems affecting women today. As the core and caretaker of the family, women often fail to address their own health issues. It is important that each of us becomes an advocate for the health care of the women in our lives.