The top 5 health concerns for women

In honour of International Women’s Day Workforce Healthcare highlight’s the top 5 health concerns for women.

  1. Heart Disease

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of mortality for both men and women. But more concerning than death is premature death. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of women ‘dying young’, chiefly due to the fact that it’s under-diagnosed. Chest pain is considered the main symptom of heart diseases but especially in women, heart disease can manifest in other ways like jaw pain, shoulder ache, nausea, vomiting or shortness of breath. Moderate exercise and a balanced diet will help to prevent heart disease and regular health checks are essential for early detection.

2. Breast Cancer

Some of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer include: change in size and shape of your breasts, a lump on your breasts, a change in skin texture like mottling or a rash, inverted nipple and persistent pain in your chest or armpit. You know your body best so don’t ignore the signs, it’s important that you let your doctor know as soon as you detect a change in your body to ensure early diagnosis.

3. Osteoporosis

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, because bone loss is gradual and painless, there are usually no symptoms to indicate a person is developing osteoporosis. This is why osteoporosis is often referred to as the silent disease. Often the first symptom of osteoporosis is a fracture. Most commonly, osteoporotic fractures occur at the spine, the wrist or the hip, although osteoporotic fractures can occur in other bones as well.

Take the IOF 1-minute online osteoporosis risk test

4. Depression

Depression is thought to affect more women than men. According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag), common symptoms of depression include: persistent anxiety, feelings of hopelessness and negativity, insomnia, early morning waking or oversleeping, appetite loss or emotional eating, decreased energy/fatigue, persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment like headache, stomach and joint pain.

5. Autoimmune disorders

Autoimmune diseases are a group of disorders in which the immune system attacks the body and destroys or alters tissues. There are more than 80 serious chronic illnesses in this category, including lupus, multiple sclerosis and Type 1 diabetes.

It is not known what causes the body to turn on itself, but genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors are suspects. Symptoms are often hard to pinpoint but if you believe something may be amiss with your body, make multiple visits to the doctor or get second and third opinions if you have to.

Sources: WebMD; Breast Cancer Care.org; Sadag