Women’s health is the term for a unique way that women’s health differs from men’s. The World Health Organization defines health as “the state of total physical, mental, and social well-being, not just the absence of disease and infirmity”. Women’s health is an example for population health.
Many groups advocate for a wider definition of the overall health and well-being of women. These differences are even worsened when women live in countries with lower socioeconomic status.
Although women living in industrialized countries live longer and have a narrower life expectancy, they still suffer from more severe and earlier-onset diseases and poorer outcomes in many other areas of their health. Gender is still a significant social determinant for health. Women’s health is affected not only by their biology, but also by circumstances such as poverty and employment.
Women have been long disadvantaged in many ways, including their social and economic power, which limits their access to basic necessities such as health care.
Why is women’s health important?
Women are the foundation of a family’s overall well-being. Providing quality care for them can help children and their families live healthier lives.
Women’s health is a key factor in the health of communities and families. A woman’s death or illness can have serious and long-lasting consequences on her health, as well as the health of her family members and community. Women health has taken on an elevated status in society today. People have realized that although women can have many of the same diseases and treatment options as men, they may have different symptoms.
The famous slogan “Healthy Women, Healthy World” reflects the fact that women, as the custodians and protectors of family health, play an important role in the well-being and health of their communities. Because of their many roles, women often focus on their children’s health and neglect their own needs. It is crucial that women make time for their own health. Proper woman care can prevent many of the illnesses that affect women.
There are steps you can take to prevent any health problems from developing at any stage in a woman’s lifetime. While many women neglect to have their health checked for a variety of reasons, ultimately it all comes down to if you want to make yourself a priority. Women deserve the same care they have given to others after putting so much effort into their lives.
Women’s health is affected by cultural and social factors
The World Health Organization has a larger body of knowledge that focuses on women’s health. It also cites gender as a social determinant. Although women’s health is affected primarily by their biology, their social and economic conditions (e.g poverty, unemployment, and family responsibilities) should not be overlooked.
Women have been historically disadvantaged on the basis of their economic and social status. This in turn limits their access to basic necessities such as health care. Despite improvements in western countries, women still face disadvantages compared to men. In developing countries, where women are more marginalized, the gender gap in health is more severe. In addition to the gender gap in health, certain diseases that are unique to women can still be a problem in terms of both prevention and treatment.
Women have been discriminated against even after they were able to get health care. This is what Iris Young calls “internal exclusion” as opposed to “external excluded”, which refers to the barriers to access. This invisibleness masks the grievances and injustices of those already marginalized by power inequity, further entrenching inequality.
Here are some common health issues for women
Although both men and women can contract different conditions, certain health issues that affect women more frequently and differently than those of women are more common. Many women’s conditions are not diagnosed and drug trials don’t include female subjects. Women are more at risk for breast cancer, cervical cancer and menopause than men. Women are more likely to die from heart attacks than men. Female patients are more likely to experience anxiety and depression. Females are more likely to have a condition of the urinary tract. Sexually transmitted diseases can also be more harmful. The following eight conditions are most common in women and pose serious health risks.
1. Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America for women. While heart disease is a problem that affects men more than women, it affects both males and their spouses almost equally. Only 54 percent of women know that heart disease is the most serious health problem affecting their gender. The United States has 49 percent of consumers who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or smoke. These are all factors that can lead to heart disease.
2. Breast Cancer
The most common form of breast cancer is found in the linings of the milk ducts. It can spread to other parts of the body and is the most deadly type of cancer that affects the female population. Due to their longer life spans, breast cancer is more common in women living in developed countries.
Breast lumps can occur in women who have breast cancer. Breast lumps are not usually life-threatening but it is important that women have them checked by a healthcare provider.
3. Cervical and Ovarian Cancer
Many people don’t know the difference between cervical and ovarian cancer. Cervical cancer begins in the lower uterus. Ovarian cancer starts in the fallopian tube. Both conditions can cause similar symptoms, but cervical cancer can also cause intercourse pain and discharge.
Ovarian cancer is a complex condition with very vague symptoms. Pap smears do not detect ovarian cancer but cervical cancer.
4. Gynecological health
Normal part of menstrual cycles is bleeding and discharge. Additional symptoms such as bleeding and frequent urination can indicate other health problems.
Vaginal problems could indicate serious conditions such as STDs or reproductive tract cancer. Although minor infections can be treated quickly by care providers, if they are not addressed promptly, they can cause infertility and kidney failure.
5. Pregnancy Issues
Pre-existing conditions that can become worse during pregnancy can pose a threat to the mother’s health and that of her child. If not managed well, depression, asthma, diabetes and other conditions can cause harm to the mother and her child.
Anemia is a condition where a pregnant woman’s red blood cells drop. This can also lead to depression. A reproductive cell implanted outside of the uterus can also cause problems, rendering further gestation impossible. Obstetricians are able to manage and treat both common and uncommon health problems that may arise during pregnancy.
6. Auto-immune diseases
When body cells fight off viruses or other threats, called autoimmune disease, it can cause damage to healthy cells. Researchers are still baffled by the fact that this condition is mainly affecting women, despite the fact that it has been increasing in prevalence. Although there are many autoimmune diseases, the majority share common symptoms like:
* Mild fever
* Skin irritation
The stomach is where the majority of the autoimmune system lies. Many people with this condition resort to natural healing methods such as:
* Consuming less sugar
* Eat less fat
* Lowering stress
* Reduce toxin intake
Early detection is the best defense against autoimmune diseases.
Osteoporosis causes bones to weaken, which can lead to them breaking easily. The condition, which is most common in women, can be caused by several factors such as:
* Alcohol consumption
* Some prescriptions
* Insufficient exercise
* Low body mass
* To smoke
* Steroid use
Care providers can measure bone density with an ultrasound or X-ray to diagnose the condition. Although there is no cure for osteoporosis (or any other condition), doctors can recommend treatment that will slow down the progression of the disease. This could include healthy lifestyle choices, prescription medication, and dietary supplements.
7. Depression and anxiety
Depression and anxiety can be caused by natural hormonal fluctuations. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which is common among women, presents similar symptoms to premenstrual disorder (PMDD), but with a much stronger focus. Many mothers experience a type of depression known as the “baby blues” shortly after giving birth. However, perinatal depression can cause similar, but stronger, concerns, emotional shifts and sadness. Depression can also be caused by the transition into menopause known as perimenopause. No matter the severity of symptoms, healthcare providers can offer relief through prescriptions or therapeutic treatments.
8. Women’s Health Technology
New technologies are expected to be available soon that will assist women’s healthcare providers. Innovative medical treatments have been developed by researchers, including a patient-operated device that prepares women to breast reconstruction with carbon dioxide and needles. A blood test can also be used to detect if gestation occurred outside of the fallopian tube. A home-based, self-contained Pap smear is also available. Another medical technology that is in development is a saliva-based test to determine pregnancy.
Healthy lifestyle choices and regular visits to a healthcare provider can help lower your risk of developing cancer and other common diseases. In many communities, nurse practitioners (NPs), nurse midwives, and nurse therapists fill the gap created by a lack of healthcare providers. They also cover a wide range of clients. To ensure women’s positive health outcomes, the care providers will require more NPs as America’s healthcare needs grow.
How can we improve women’s health?
We need to improve the health of women by addressing issues such as reproductive health, maternal mortality, malnutrition, and other non-communicable diseases. This can be done through affordable and quality health services that are covered under universal health care.
To improve women’s health, it is necessary to take a holistic, comprehensive, and long-term approach that goes beyond reproductive health. This includes starting in pregnancy and continuing through childhood, adolescence, and the aging years. Women should be empowered to take responsibility for their own health.
Violence against women and girls is a top priority area of concern that requires more and continuous action in the South-East Asia Region.
Women are an integral part of our communities. A healthy woman will lead to a healthy family, a healthy community, and healthy countries. Let’s all “Make it Happen: Improve Women’s Health”.
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