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The Most Serious Health Concerns for Women and What You Can Do
These days, it seems women have more health concerns than ever. Perhaps they are greater in number than ever before or perhaps we are just more aware of women's issues as women are more comfortable having them brought to the forefront.
One issue that continually does get the attention it deserves is breast cancer. The breast cancer statistics are alarming, and almost everyone you know has a sister or mother who has suffered from this deadly disease. If caught early enough, it does not have to be deadly. In fact, there are things you can do so that you don't get it at all. Every woman (young and old) should be checking their breasts monthly to detect for any strange lumps or any unusual signs. This can be done in the shower, with one arm raised and the other performing the checking task. Any doctor can show you the specifics on how to do this. If you do sense something suspicious, make an appointment with your doctor right away to have it looked at.
The other thing you can do is be a conscious consumer; every day the FDA is coming out with new information as to what may be potential carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), from food additives to plastics to environmental hazards. Becoming aware and taking the time to be educated can make all the difference in the world.
Another major health concern for women is heart disease. This continues to be the number one killer of women, actually, and it doesn't just happen to those you would suspect. When people think of heart disease, most people think of the severely obese. However, women can suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, and clogged arteries from poor food choices, lack of exercise, and stress.
Believe it or not, if you eat fast food on a regular basis and skip the gym in favor of drinks after a very stressful work day that ends at 7:00 p.m. instead of 5:00 p.m., you may be in a higher risk category than your friend who remains calm, eats a lot of healthy food choices, and practices yoga a couple times a week. If you know you are in the first group, the best thing you can do for yourself is to start making small changes. If you can't get away from a stressful job or career, make sure to step away each hour and do deep breathing exercises, and stretch your body while at work. Go to the ladies room to do it if necessary! Try to make smarter food choices, even if it means just eliminating one of your ‘junk food meals' a week. If you're not big on exercise, start with a simple walk a couple times a week and go from there. The sooner you make these changes, the healthier you will be and the less at risk for heart disease.
A third issue for women and one that has been on the rise for quite some time is obesity. The "average" American woman has increased in size to a size 12 or even a size 14, with many women reaching far beyond that size. This can be unhealthy depending on your body fat percentage.
While women can take some of the same steps as with heart disease discussed above, people who suffer from obesity may need to take more drastic measures in order to get their weight down. If you are obese, it is definitely time to get your diet in check so that you don't later develop heart disease, or adult diabetes, or a host of other problems from being overweight. Eating a lot of processed, artificially sweetened, or sugar and fat-laden foods is likely a habit, and one that needs to be nipped in the bud. Hand in hand with poor eating habits is exercise habits, and if you don't have any it's time to get some! It will be difficult at first, and you are likely to be winded and tired after a very short time of exertion. However, if you keep pushing through the challenging times you will soon see and feel the difference. You will notice you have more energy, as your workout time may go from ten minutes on the treadmill to fifteen to twenty. As you benefit from this greater energy, it will not only help power you through your workout sessions, but it will put a brighter spin on the rest of your life. You will find you have more energy throughout the day, and chances are you will continue to burn calories because of this. You will probably find an easier time making healthy food choices if you incorporate exercise into your fight against obesity as well.
Women's issues can be the same as men's issues or they can be different. The good news is, women's health concerns get discussed more than they used to, and this gives us greater power in awareness.
Megan Hazel is a freelance writer who writes about health and fitness topics, similar to what consumers read in Women's Health magazines.