While all of us have concerns about our health, women in particular have an array of issues to pay attention to. The World Health Organization itself frequently highlights these issues, from disease prevention matters specific to women, to access to care that isn't always available. Women around the world have long been campaigning for improvement in women’s health issues, and will undoubtedly continue to do so.
While some problems require large-scale, societal solutions, there are also many ways to improve your health as a woman in order to maintain a full, happy and confident life. Being aware of signs to act on, adjusting lifestyle choices, and elevating self-care can all have a significant impact on how you feel overall. To get a little more specific though, we’ve outlined some health and self-care issues to be aware of that can help you to lead a happier, healthier life.
Cardiovascular disease accounts for 1-in-3 deaths in women across the United States, with heart disease specifically being the leading cause of death, according to the CDC. Cardiovascular issues are often congenital, but they can also be a result of the way we live. As such, many forms of heart disease can be treated or prevented by making lifestyle changes. Eating healthily, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising each day, and managing stress levels can help reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease. And try to make sure you're getting enough sleep, too!
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the weakening of bones, increasing the
susceptibility to fracture. Women are four times more likely than men to develop the disease, and while women's slightly longer lifespans account for some of this, menopause is also a contributing factor. There’s a direct correlation between the development of osteoporosis and the lack of estrogen brought about by the menopause. Osteoporosis often progresses without symptoms or pain, meaning it’s commonly detected only after a break or fracture. There are ways to prevent the disease, however. Establishing a regular exercise routine, eating foods high in calcium, avoiding smoking, and limiting alcohol intake are all great prevention steps. You can also look to The Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation's blog and podcast site, Bone Talk, for advice and information from people who are knowledgeable about this condition.
Just behind skin cancer (which is typically more treatable), breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women. Approximately 1 in 8 women (or 12% of the female population) will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. Health and Wellness platform SymptomFind outlined diagnosis and investigation options in a piece on breast cancer earlier this year, noting that there are now numerous ways for women to screen for the disease. While self-examination is always recommended (and is something you should speak with your doctor about if you're unsure how to go about it), women pursue periodic medical examinations, as well as imaging and further testing if there's any suspicion of a problem. While treatments can be debilitating and draining, they are always getting more effective –– which is why early diagnosis is so important here.
Aside from keeping an eye on health issues like these that affect so many women, it is also important to take care of your mental wellbeing and your sense of self! Making time to address self-care is a healthy exercise to maintain your esteem and happiness. Looking after your hair, skin, and nails can boost your confidence and keep you feeling your best (not to mention these same parts of the body can sometimes be indicators of internal health as well).
Photo by Kaylee Garrett, Unsplash
Taking good care of your skin can help sustain a youthful and healthy glow and can boost your confidence. Keeping out of the sun and using high-factor sun creams is essential, not only to protect against skin cancer, but also to prevent premature aging. Staying hydrated and choosing a healthy diet can benefit the appearance and health of your skin as well.
To maintain healthy hair, it’s recommended to avoid over-washing as it can cause your hair to become dry and brittle. Aim to wash your hair every 2 to 3 days. Heat styling tools have become indispensable in the lives of many women, but it’s important to use these wisely as well. Excessive use can cause deep damage. Opting for great quality products free from harmful ingredients on your hair is a fantastic way to sustain good hair health. This is why we recommend a range of clean hair products that are paraben-, sulfate-, and phthalate-free here at MASAMI. Plus, all of our products are vegan and cruelty-free!
The issues we've addressed here do not paint a comprehensive picture of women's health. But hopefully they've helped you to think about how you can take care of yourself. From day-to-day self-care to long-term bodily health, there are a lot of challenges we face as women. But there are also lots of ways that we can take control of our health and wellness to live our best and happiest (and longest) lives!