Top 5 Women’s Health Threats and How to Prevent Them

Think breast cancer is the greatest risk to a woman’s health? Find out more about the top 5 conditions that pose the most danger to women’s health.

Threat #1: Heart Disease

Heart disease isn’t just a man’s disease. Heart disease is also a major women’s health threat. To prevent heart disease:

  • Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke;
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fiber and fish. Cut back on foods high in saturated fat and sodium;
  • If you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations;
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine;
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. Too much alcohol can raise blood pressure;
  • If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar under control; and
  • Manage stress.

Threat #2: Cancer

The most common cause of cancer deaths among women is lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Breast cancer and colorectal cancer also pose major women’s health threats. To reduce your risk of cancer:

  • Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke;
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine;
  • Maintain a healthy weight;
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and avoid high-fat foods;
  • Limit your sun exposure. When you’re outdoors, use sunscreen;
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation;
  • Consult your doctor for regular cancer screenings;
  • Reduce exposure to cancer-causing substances, such as radon, asbestos, radiation and air pollution; and
  • Breast-feed, if you can.

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Threat #3: Stroke


You can’t control some stroke risk factors, such as age, family history, sex or race. But you can take these steps to reduce your risk of stroke:

  • Don’t smoke;
  • If you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations;
  • Limit the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet. Try to avoid trans fat entirely;
  • Maintain a healthy weight;
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine;
  • If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar under control; and
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation.

Threat #4: COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a group of chronic lung conditions, including bronchitis and emphysema. To prevent COPD:

  • Don’t smoke. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke; and
  • Minimize exposure to chemicals and air pollution.

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Threat #5: Alzheimer’s disease

There’s no proven way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but consider taking these steps:

  • Take care of your heart. High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high cholesterol may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s;
  • Avoid head injuries. There appears to be a link between head injury and future risk of Alzheimer’s;
  • Maintain a healthy weight;
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine;
  • Avoid tobacco;
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation;
  • Stay socially active; and
  • Maintain mental fitness. Practice mental exercises, and take steps to learn new things.

 

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