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In addition to breast cancer, these four health issues should be a top priority for women.

When many women think of the health issues they need to pay attention to, thoughts invariably turn to conditions like breast and ovarian cancer. It makes sense that these would be on the radar of women since they are conditions that by their very nature affect women. But they are not the only health issues women should pay attention to.

Here are other common health issues women shouldn’t ignore:
Heart Disease

Of all the health conditions that affect women, none is as prevalent and serious as heart disease. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in women, but only slightly more than half of women recognize that fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some of the biggest risk factors for heart disease include overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Most women over age 40 have at least one major risk factor, with many having multiple risk factors. After menopause, heart disease risk increases even more. The good news is that many risk factors for heart disease are under your control and can be lowered by making healthy lifestyle changes.

Lung Cancer

After breast cancer, lung cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosis in women (aside from skin cancer). It is also the deadliest. Lung cancer diagnoses have risen steadily over the last four decades in women while they have declined in men during the same timeframe. About 20 percent of women diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked (compared with only about 8 percent in men). It is not understood why these differences are occurring, but lung cancer should definitely be on your radar if you are a woman, even if you have never smoked.

Depression/Anxiety

Women are about twice as likely as men to have depression and are especially at risk during times of hormonal changes, such as puberty, pregnancy, postpartum and menopause. Although anxiety can affect any age or gender, it’s more common in younger people and women. But there’s no reason you have to live with depression or anxiety. There are a variety of treatments that can improve both disorders. The first step in getting help is talking to your primary care physician or a therapist.

Conditions Affecting the Reproductive System

Many conditions can affect a woman’s reproductive system, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. Some women experience painful, heavy or irregular periods. Others have endometriosis or uterine fibroids. Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition that affects women and may impact more than a woman’s ovulation cycles. Some women battle with infertility issues.

About a third of all women will have a hysterectomy by the age of 60, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). It is the second most common type of surgery among women in the U.S. after Caesarean section. In many cases, this surgery is elective and is not medically necessary. If you have conditions that affect your reproductive system, talk to your doctor about whether having this type of procedure is right for you and ask about alternative treatments that may also be available.


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Date Last Reviewed: March 15, 2024

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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