Ask Dr. Angela: Why do we need to focus on women’s health?

  • September 2, 2014

The answer is pretty simple:  Women have unique health issues. Some of them are pretty obvious – pregnancy, menopause and certain cancers like breast and cervical cancer. But another reason is that general health problems affect women differently.

  • Women are more likely to die following a heart attack than men.  That’s often because the signs of having a heart attack are different for women. Women are more likely than men to experience delays in emergency care and to have treatment to control their cholesterol levels.
  • More women than men suffer a stroke each year. Although many of the risk factors for stroke are the same for men and women, some risk factors are unique to women. These include taking birth control pills, using hormone replacement therapy, having frequent migraine headaches and having a think waist.
  • Women are more likely to show signs of depression and anxiety than men. That’s partially because we are often in the caregiver role and take care of others first.
  • According to a 2012 survey by the American Psychological Association, stress is on the rise for women. Women are more likely to report having stress, and almost 50% of all women in the survey, compared to 39% of the men, reported that their stress had increased over the past 5 years.
  • The effects of sexually transmitted diseases can be more serious in women.  Women historically have had more stigma attached to getting sexually transmitted diseases and have been uneducated or passive about transmission.
  • Osteoarthritis affects more women than men.  Arthritis is the leading cause of physical disability in the United States.
  • Women are more likely than men are to experience urinary tract problems. For example, urinary incontinence affects twice as many women as mendue to the way the female urinary tract is structured.

These are just a few of the differences.  What you need to do is make sure that you are taking a proactive, comprehensive approach to your health.