Regular Doctor Visits, Healthy Habits are Important for Women

Overall Wellness Plays Key Role in Disease Prevention

DAYTON, Ohio (November 21, 2011) – While most women realize that pregnancy, breast cancer and menopause are health concerns at different stages of their lives, Premier HealthNet, the Miami Valley’s largest primary-care physician network, is reminding women there are other, equally important, health issues women need to be aware of as they manage their overall health. In fact, many diseases and health risks most commonly associated with men, such as heart disease and stroke, are of equal concern for 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. This information likely comes as a surprise to many women, as heart disease is traditionally thought to be much more common in men. However, 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, making heart disease an equal concern for both women and men.

“People always tend to think of men when they think of heart disease, when actually, heart health is just as important for women,” said Elaine Scott, advanced nurse practitioner at Brookville Family Care. “Regardless of which health issues are most common, prevention, detection and treatment begins with primary care.”

Even when health concerns, such as heart disease, are common among both women and men, Scott noted that the conditions often affect women differently. This is why it’s important for patients to consult their primary care physician if they notice any unusual symptoms.

While women suffer from many of the same conditions as men, women are more prone to develop some of them than men. Those conditions include osteoarthritis, obesity and depression. 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. Combining a diet that consists of fruits, vegetables and lean protein with regular exercise not only positively impacts an individual’s physical health, but can improve mental health as well. Additionally, not smoking, limiting alcohol and managing stress are also keys to healthier living.

“Primary care is a key component of disease prevention,” said Scott. “Women should feel comfortable talking about their health concerns with their primary care provider and the staff that assist them because those are the people who can help decipher and diagnose changes at all stages in a woman’s life.”

Yearly screenings allow primary care providers 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. Regular health care visits are key to the prevention and treatment all types of health issues.

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