Photo credit: WellMed Medical Management Inc.
Mother’s Day is May 14, which also kicks off National Women’s Health Week (May 14-20), a health observance that encourages women and girls to make their health a priority (SOURCE: National Women's Health Week - Women's Health - CDC).
Dr. Heather Gardow, MD, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology at USMD Mansfield OBGYN Clinic says that women face a variety of unique health issues stemming from breast health, pregnancy and PMS to mental health and menopause.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, it’s important for women to have good general wellness habits, such as getting periodic health checks and preventive screenings, managing stress, practicing good sleep hygiene, eating healthy and staying active (SOURCE: Celebrating Women’s Health Week! | Health Equity Features | CDC). Preventative care can help keep disease away or detect health problems early on so that treatment is more effective (SOURCE: Celebrating Women’s Health Week! | Health Equity Features | CDC).
Additionally, women should be aware of such important health matters as those related to pregnancy and heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Symptoms of heart disease, along with a variety of other conditions, present themselves differently in women than men (SOURCE: Health Matters for Women Newsletter | CDC Women's Health).
“Heart disease symptoms can often be more subtle in women, which is why education and awareness are so important,” said Dr. Heather Gardow, MD, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology at USMD Mansfield OBGYN Clinic. “And perhaps more surprising is the health crisis facing pregnant women. Many people are unaware that today a woman in the U.S. is twice as likely to die from pregnancy complications than her mother a generation ago, the surge in large part to complications resulting from COVID-19, and ethnic groups with less access to care.”
STATS ON WOMEN’S HEALTH
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, killing 314,186 women in 2020 – or about 1 in every 5 female deaths (SOURCE: Lower Your Risk for the Number 1 Killer of Women I CDC).
- Despite an increase in awareness over the past decades, only about half (56%) of women recognize that heart disease is their #1 killer (SOURCE: Lower Your Risk for the Number 1 Killer of Women I CDC).
- Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a man’s disease, almost as many women as men die each year of heart disease in the United States (SOURCE: Lower Your Risk for the Number 1 Killer of Women I CDC).
- Women who are caregivers are at greater risk for poor physical and mental health, including depression and anxiety (SOURCE: Seven Facts to Know about Women’s Health I CDC).
- About 1 in 4 women in the United States have a disability. The most common cause of disability for women is arthritis (i.e., osteoarthritis, rheumatism, fibromyalgia, lupus). Many women with disabilities may not receive regular health screenings as recommended, such as mammograms or a Pap test (SOURCE: Seven Facts to Know about Women’s Health I CDC).
- Studies show that an increasing number of pregnant persons in the United States have chronic health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and chronic heart disease. These conditions may put a person at higher risk of complications during pregnancy or in the year postpartum (SOURCE: Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System I CDC).