Health Issues Can Impact Women of All Ages

Primary Care Physicians Report Depression, Cancer and Osteoporosis as Top Health Concerns for Women

DAYTON, Ohio (November 21, 2011) – While most women realize that pregnancy, breast cancer and menopause are health concerns that require ongoing attention, Premier HealthNet, the Miami Valley’s largest primary-care physician network, is raising awareness for other health issues as well. In fact, many diseases and health risks that are most commonly associated with men, such as heart disease and stroke, are of equal concern for women.

“Some of the most common women’s health issues that I see regularly include depression, osteoporosis and breast, cervical and colon cancers,” said Dr. Tracie Bolden of Fairfield Road Physicians. “Most people think only older women need to be concerned with these types of issues, but many of these, including depression, are showing up in younger women.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, which accounts for approximately 25 percent of female deaths annually, followed by cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease and Alzheimer’s disease. While heart disease is traditionally thought to be much more common in men, statistics compiled by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reveal that women account for nearly half of all heart attack deaths in the United States. Even when health concerns, such as heart disease, are common among both women and men, the conditions often affect women differently. Individuals should consult a primary care physician to understand the warning signs associated with a heart attack.

While women suffer from many of the same conditions as men, women are more prone to develop some of them than men, including osteoarthritis and obesity. Osteoarthritis affects both men and women as early as age 18, but the disease is more prevalent in women. Obesity is another condition that tends to affect women in greater numbers. According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health, while more men than women tend to be overweight, more women tend to suffer from obesity.

Even though women’s health issues are varied, there are certain steps women can take to improve their overall health. A healthy diet and regular exercise can positively impact an individual’s physical health and also improve mental health. Additionally, not smoking, limiting alcohol and managing stress are also keys to leading a healthier lifestyle.

Regular visits to a primary care physician are an important part of the prevention and treatment of all types of these health issues. Yearly screenings allow physicians to monitor everything from blood pressure and cholesterol to pelvic exams and the identification of potential risk factors that could lead to more serious health conditions in the future.

“While many screenings for many women’s health issues begin after age 40, if a woman has a family history of a particular condition, a primary care physician may recommend screening much sooner,” said Dr. Bolden. “As a woman, wife and mother, I can relate to many of the same stresses my female patients experience and continue to remind them how important it is to make their health a priority.”

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