Women and men just aren’t the same, particularly when it comes to their health risks. Do you know what conditions pose the biggest threat to American women’s health? You may be surprised. The first step to staying healthy is knowing what you’re up against, and then taking the necessary precautions to reduce your risk.
The good news is that many of the leading threats to women’s health, which can vary based on a woman’s age and background, are preventable. Find out which conditions to be aware of to maximize your health today.
Revlon Love IS On Million Dollar Challenge is appealing directly to consumers to help raise awareness and a million dollars for three leading health issues facing women today: women’s cancers, heart disease and diabetes.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October always serves as a reminder to pay attention to our health. But breast cancer is not the only major disease that threatens women. So do heart disease, diabetes and other diseases. And the statistics are staggering:
- In 2015, an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the United States, along with 60,290 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
- Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a “man’s disease,” around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States. Despite increases in awareness over the past decade, only 54% of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer.
- As of 2012, the number of women with both diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes in the United States was 13.4 million.
The connection goes beyond these three diseases being diseases that can kill. The three are remarkably entwined.
The Connection Between Type 2 Diabetes and Breast Cancer
Many of the risk factors for diabetes like being overweight, being older and not getting regular exercise are the same for breast cancer.
In fact, women with type 2 diabetes may have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer, says a study published in the journal Diabetes Care. Another study found that risk to be as high as between 20 percent and 27 percent.
On the flip side is some good news: That risk may be substantially lessened by moderate-intensity physical exercise, which also helps lessen the risk of breast cancer, even if you don’t have diabetes.
The Connection Between Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease
Similar risk factors for diabetes like being overweight and smoking are also risk factors for heart disease.
Cardiovascular disease is a major complication of diabetes, as well as the leading cause of early death among people with diabetes. A sad statistic: About 65 percent of people with diabetes die from heart disease and stroke. Adults who have diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or suffer a stroke than people without diabetes, according to information published by the National Diabetes Education Program.
The Connection Between Breast Cancer and Heart Disease
Unfortunately, treatments meant to help eradicate breast cancer may affect the heart; among them, chemotherapy (especially the medicine doxorubicin (Adriamycin)), radiation therapy and some hormonal therapies like anastrozole (Arimidex) and tamoxifen.
All of these sobering facts point to the urgent need to raise funds to help treat and combat these diseases. Revlon, in partnership with Crows Rise, has launched this huge new philanthropic initiative, part of its longstanding commitment to women’s health causes.
Nearly 100 charities, including the American Cancer Society, the National Breast Cancer Coalition,Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation among them, will call upon their supporters and social networks to raise the most money over a six-week period. HealthyWomen is pleased to support this effort.
The winning charity will receive a $1 million dollar donation from Revlon, and the runner-up will receive $250,000.
That million dollar award is the biggest in CrowdRise’s history.
It’s a good time to consider giving to this cause and supporting these charities.After all, we need to keep all women as healthy as is within our power!
More Threats to Women’s Health
To the surprise of many women, breast cancer is not the number one health risk they face. Heart disease, which accounts for around 27 percent of all female deaths, kills more women in the United States than all forms of cancer combined nearly 500,000 women annually. Yet only 13 percent of Americans know how great a women’s health risk heart disease really is. Luckily, there are lots of lifestyle changes you can make to ward off heart disease, such as not smoking, following a heart-smart diet, and being physically active.
Cancer, the second most dangerous threat to a woman’s health, accounts for 22 percent of female deaths and kills almost 270,000 women in the United States each year. However even in this category breast cancer is not the most deadly threat. Rather, lung cancer claims the most lives each year approximately 70,000 annually mostly due to smoking; breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths. Fortunately, lifestyle choices can help prevent at least one-third of all cancers, so you can cut your risk by adopting healthier habits.
Stroke poses a significant risk to women’s health in the United States. It’s not only responsible for almost 8 percent of all female deaths, but it’s also the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. And women are more often affected by this condition than men almost 55,000 more women have strokes each year, and about 60 percent of the total number of stroke deaths happen in women.
For this reason, it’s very important that all women learn to recognize the signs of a stroke. Call 911 immediately if you have symptoms of numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg especially if it’s only on one side of your body; sudden confusion; trouble speaking or understanding; sudden difficulty seeing; dizziness or loss of balance; or an abrupt severe headache.
This group of diseases, which affect the airways and lungs, makes up about 5 percent of all female deaths. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), mostly caused by smoking, is the most common of these conditions and involves bronchitis and emphysema.
In 2000, for the first time, more women than men died of COPD, and it’s now estimated that 64,000 women die from the condition annually. COPD is a serious threat to women’s health that also diminishes quality of life by causing shortness of breath and limiting a person’s ability to stay active.
Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive, degenerative brain disorder, is responsible for about 4 percent of all female deaths in the United States each year. More than half of the 4.5 million Americans living with this condition are women, and more women die from the disease than men.
Although Alzheimer’s starts with simple forgetfulness and confusion, it can eventually lead to irreversible mental impairment. If you think you or someone else you know may have Alzheimer’s disease, be sure to get a complete medical work-up to rule out other causes of dementia.
Accidents car collisions, falls, and poisonings, to name a few account for about 3 percent of all female deaths in the United States each year more than 37,000 women. In a recent study, one-third of these accidents were found to be traffic-related, while another 7,800 women lose their lives annually from falls.
Using common-sense precautions can help you to avoid many types of accidents, such as wearing a seatbelt every time you’re in a car, placing carbon monoxide detectors in your home, clearly labeling items that contain toxic substances, and taking steps to avoid slippery surfaces, such as using a non-slip mat in the tub.
Responsible for around 3 percent of all female deaths in the United States, diabetes is a serious women’s health issue, and a condition that affects almost 26 million Americans. Some 12.6 million of those are women aged 20 years or older but almost one-quarter of them haven’t yet been diagnosed.
Women of color are at highest risk for the condition. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, but the good news is that it is preventable. To reduce your risk, be sure to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a healthy weight, exercise, and have your fasting blood sugar levels checked regularly to allow for early diagnosis.
Influenza and Pneumonia
Combined, pneumonia and influenza account for just under 3 percent of all American female deaths. Influenza, commonly called the flu, is a contagious lung disease caused by a virus, while pneumonia is an infection of the lung, with bacterial pneumonia being the most deadly type.
Vaccines may be your best bet to reduce the risk of both conditions. Yearly flu shots can be up to 90 percent effective in preventing influenza in healthy adults, and the pneumococcal vaccine can lower your chances of getting pneumonia by more than half.
This disease, in which the kidneys stop doing their job and allow waste to build up in the blood, accounts for almost 2 percent of all female deaths in the United States. Many factors can contribute to the development of kidney disease, but diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and a family history of kidney failure are your greatest risks. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s treatment suggestions closely to minimize your risk. Unfortunately, early kidney disease has no symptoms, but blood and urine tests can diagnose the condition.
Also known as septicemia, blood poisoning is a risk to women’s health that is responsible for the deaths of 1.5 percent of all U.S. females. This life-threatening condition occurs when the blood is infected with bacteria or other toxins that commonly come from infections in the lung, urinary tract, abdomen, or pelvis.
The condition can begin with spiking fevers, chills, rapid breathing, a change in mental status, and rapid heart rate, and the person often quickly becomes very ill. The symptoms of blood poisoning can swiftly progress to shock, which has a high death rate; if you or a loved one has any of the warning signs, get to a hospital immediately.
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