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Valuable Healthcare Information for Seniors

Health Concerns for Women

Heart disease is a common threat for both men and women, and it is responsible for 29% of the deaths in women according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is because the symptoms for women are often missed by doctors and the patients themselves.

As stated by the American Heart Association (AHA), the risk factors of heart diseases include:

  • Increasing Age
  • Heredity (including Race)
  • Smoking
  • High Blood Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Obesity and Overweight
  • Diabetes

The good news is that women can reduce their risk of heart disease. They can do this by living a healthier lifestyle; one that has a well-balanced diet and exercise.

This is the most common cancer in women, second to lung cancer as the leading cause of female deaths. The risks, according to the American Cancer Society, include:

  • Increasing Age
  • Genes
  • Family History of the Disease
  • Personal History of the Disease
  • Race
  • Earlier Abnormal Breast Biopsy
  • Earlier Chest Radiation
  • Early Onset of Menstruation (Before Age 12) or Menopause (After Age 55)
  • Not Having Children
  • Medication Use, Such As Diethylstilbestrol (DES)
  • Too Much Alcohol
  • Obesity

Before physicians knew anything about osteoporosis, women had to get used to hunched backs, back pain, and frailty. Thankfully, there are now steps that we can take to avoid this. Osteoporosis still threatens 44 million Americans—68% of which are women—according to National Osteoporosis Foundation. Talk to your doctor about your possible risk of osteoporosis, and what you can do to prevent it.

Risk Factors

  • Female Sex
  • Increasing Age
  • Small, Thin-Boned Frame
  • Ethnicity
  • Family History
  • Sex Hormones
  • Anorexia
  • Diet Low in Calcium and Vitamin D
  • Medication Use (particularly Glucocorticoids or some Anticonvulsants)
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Excessive Alcohol

This mental illness is more prevalent in women than in men. It can also be triggered by hormonal changes, typically after pregnancy or around menopause.

Risk Factors

  • A previous depressive episode
  • Family history of depression
  • History of heart problems
  • Serious chronic illness
  • Marital problems
  • Substance abuse
  • Use of drugs that could trigger depression, such as medicines for high blood pressure or seizures
  • A stressful life event, such as job loss or death
  • Diseases that could trigger depression (i.e. vitamin deficiency and thyroid disease)
  • Recent serious illness or surgery
  • Childhood history of physical or sexual abuse
  • Being a worrier or overly anxious
  • Eating disorders or anxiety disorders

Autoimmune diseases are disorders where the immune system attacks the body and destroys or alters tissues. There are more than 80 serious chronic illnesses in this category, including lupus, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes.

Health Concerns for Men

Cardiovascular Disease

People often call it as atherosclerosis or "hardening of the arteries." The cholesterol plaques progressively block the arteries in the heart and brain. If the plaque becomes unstable, a blood clot will form and block the artery, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. You can prevent cardiovascular diseases by:

  • Getting your cholesterol checked every 5 years, starting at 25 years old
  • Controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol if they’re high
  • Quitting smoking
  • Increasing your physical activity to 30 minutes a day
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables while lessening saturated or trans fats

Lung Cancer

This type of cancer is aggressive as it is almost always metastatic. It spreads early, usually before it grows large enough to be evident. By the time it causes symptoms or shows up on an x-ray, lung cancer is often too difficult and advanced to cure. In these situations, only less than half of the diagnosed men get to live another year.

As of now, there are no effective screening tests for lung cancer, but a major study is already ongoing. It is focused on improving survival by catching it early enough through the use of CT scans.

However, what we do know is that tobacco smoke causes 90% of all lung cancers, and lunch cancer is still one of the leading diseases in men. The most obvious way to reduce the risk for lung cancers is by quitting smoking. There are also other preventative ways, but few are as effective. Regardless, there are new tools available to aiding people to stop smoking.

Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland behind the penis that secretes fluids that are important for ejaculation. As men age, this gland becomes more prone to health problems, including cancer.

Prostate cancer is the leading type of cancer that kills men apart from skin cancer. Close to 200 thousand men will develop prostate cancer this year in the U.S. The screening for prostate cancer requires a digital rectal exam and a blood test for prostate-specific antigen.

Depression and Suicide

Depression isn't just a bad mood; it's an emotional disturbance that affects your whole body and overall health. In effect, depression proves the mind-body connection. Brain chemicals and stress hormones are out of balance. Sleep, appetite, and energy level are disturbed. Research even suggests men with depression are more likely to develop heart disease.

Experts previously thought depression affected far more women than men. However, that may just be men's tendency to hide depressed feelings or express them in ways different than women's.

Diabetes

Diabetes usually begins silently and without symptoms. Over the years, blood sugars rise higher, eventually spilling into the urine. The resulting frequent urination and thirst are what finally bring many men to the doctor.

The high sugar of diabetes is anything but sweet. Excess glucose acts as a slow poison on blood vessels and nerves everywhere in the body. Heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure, and amputations are the fallout for thousands of men.

Exercise, combined with a healthy diet, can prevent type 2 diabetes. Moderate weight loss for those who are overweight and 30 minutes a day of physical activity can reduce the chance of diabetes by more than 50% in men at high risk in one major study.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) may not be life-threatening, but it still signals an important health problem. Two-thirds of men older than 70 and up to 39% of 40-year-old men have problems with erectile dysfunction. Men with ED report less enjoyment in life and are more likely to be depressed.

It is most often caused by atherosclerosis, the same process that causes heart attacks and strokes. In fact, having ED frequently means that blood vessels throughout the body are in less-than-perfect health. Doctors consider erectile dysfunction an early warning sign for cardiovascular disease.

Effective ED treatments make a fulfilling sex life possible despite ED, but they don't cure the condition. If you have erectile dysfunction, see your doctor.

Diabetes and Heart Disease

Heart and vascular disease often go hand-in-hand with diabetes. Because of this, individuals with diabetes are at a much greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure. Other vascular problems due to diabetes include poor circulation to the legs and feet. Sadly, many of these problems can go undetected and even start early in life.

Serious cardiovascular disease can begin before the age of 30 in persons with diabetes. The two most common types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2.

Causes of Heart Disease for People With Diabetes

There are changes in the blood vessels that can lead to cardiovascular disease. Linings of the blood vessels may become thicker and as a result, make it more difficult for blood to flow through the vessels.

With the blood flow impaired, there is a chance for heart problems or stroke to occur. Additionally, blood vessels can also suffer damage elsewhere in the body due to diabetes such as eye problems, kidney problems as well as poor circulation to the legs and feet.

Metabolic Syndrome

It is a group of metabolic risk factors in one person. According to the American Heart Association, those with metabolic syndrome have a greater risk of coronary heart disease, diseases related to plaque buildups in artery walls, and type 2 diabetes.

The underlying causes of this syndrome are overweight or obesity, physical inactivity, and genetic factors. It has also become increasingly common in the country, affecting about 20% to 25% of American adults. Apart from this, the disease is closely associated with insulin resistance.

Risk Factors

  • Excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen
  • Blood fat disorders that foster plaque buildup in artery walls
  • Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance
  • High fibrinogen or plasminogen activator inhibitor (-1) in the blood
  • Raised blood pressure (130/85 mmHg or higher)
  • Elevated high-sensitivity c-reactive protein in the blood