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Common health issues women should know about

The picture of health isn’t one size fits all. Research is uncovering more
and more data about which diseases target specific demographics and how
their symptoms can vary based on gender. Knowing which diseases you’re more
susceptible to can be the key to prevention or early diagnosis, helping
enable a long and healthy life.

Here are a few health issues women are more likely to run into, and what
symptoms to keep an eye out for.

Heart Disease

Taking the life of

one in every four women, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America.

It’s a broad term, used to describe a range of conditions that directly impact the heart.
This includes things like

coronary artery disease,

heart arrhythmia, and

congenital heart defects. The staple of heart disease is the presence of narrowed or blocked blood
vessels—the most dangerous factors that cause heart attack and stroke.

What’s especially dangerous about heart disease for women is the

delayed onset of symptoms, often appearing up to ten years later than seen in men. When they do
appear, they’re slightly different than symptoms of heart disease in men.

Symptoms of coronary artery disease or heart attack specific to women


• Nausea and fatigue
• Shortness of breath
• Sudden sweating without cause
• Dizziness
• Pain in the chest, arm, or back


Literally meaning “porous bone,”


reduces the density and quality of the bone—making them fragile and more
likely to fracture. Because women tend to have thinner bones than men,
they’re at a much higher risk for osteoporosis.

In fact, women make up 80 percent of Americans with osteoporosis, and one in every
two women over the age of 50 will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis.

Unfortunately, symptoms of osteoporosis typically don’t appear until the
later stages of bone loss. Once the bone has been significantly weakened,

symptoms of osteoporosis


Backpain caused by collapsing vertebraeAn easily occurring bone fractureStooped postureLoss of height

Doctors recommend women talk to their doctor about osteoporosis if they

early menopause,

took steroids

for several months at a time, or if

either parents had hip fractures.

Breast Cancer

As the most commonly diagnosed
cancer among women worldwide,

breast cancer is expected

to take the life of one in every 37 American women. Certain life factors

make women more susceptible

to the disease, including the onset of menopause after 55, taking oral
contraceptives, a family history of breast cancer, being overweight, or
having your first period before the age of twelve. Luckily,

death rates from breast cancer have been steadily declining

since 1990 thanks to early detection, increased awareness, and more
advanced treatment methods.

Preventive screening

is essential to the early detection of breast cancer, but keeping an eye
out for

these symptoms

can also be lifesaving:

Lumps or nodes felt on or inside the breast or armpitChanges to the appearance of one or both nipplesConsistent and general pain in or on any area of the breast, regardless of
menstruationRedness, dimpling, or pitting of the breast skinChanges in breast color, size, or shape


Alzheimer’s disease, the general term for drastic memory loss and significant cognitive

affects over

5.5 million Americans—

two thirds of whom are women. This is largely because age is the strongest risk factor for Alzheimer’s,
and women generally live longer than men. There are additional

contributing risk factors, including a history of depression, lack of exercise, and minimal
cognitive activity.

Alzheimer’s begins in a preclinical phase, in which people seem
symptom-free despite dangerous deterioration taking place in the brain.
Once Alzheimer’s enters the clinical phase, the onset of symptoms is rapid
and apparent. For most women, this begins in their mid 60’s.

Signs of Alzheimer’s include:

Uncharacteristically poor judgement leading to bad decisionsMemory lossRepeating questionsWandering and getting lost in familiar areasFrequently losing and misplacing thingsIncreased aggression or anxietyLoss of initiative or spontaneity 

Being pro-active about your health and educating yourself on which
illnesses you’re at higher risk for can make a significant difference.
Women should always educate themselves regarding relevant health issues,
and take the appropriate preventive measures.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional
medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information on this web
site is for general information purposes only. Always seek the advice
of your physician or health care provider on any matters relating to
your health.