As our society changes, so do our health concerns. But with knowledge comes power.
Some health concerns are avoidable while others are simply manageable. Learn about the conditions and topics that will be most concerning for women in 2018.
Chronic pain relief
Women are four times more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia than men, according to a Pain Research and Treatment study. It’s a fact that women experience pain more often and more intensely than their male counterparts. And they respond to pain medications differently too. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why but they speculate that there’s a link between pain reception and female hormones.
Considering that we’re in the middle of a national health crisis surrounding prescription painkillers, this is extremely relevant for 2018. Prescription painkiller overdose deaths by women have increased 400 percent since 1999, compared to 265 percent among men.
If you find yourself in a position where you need to take prescription painkillers, do so with extreme caution. Only use your prescription when absolutely necessary and properly dispose of your pills when you’re done.
Mental health issues
Women experience depression at about twice the rate that men do, and about 12 million women in the United States are diagnosed with depression. And although men are more likely to die by suicide, women are twice as likely to attempt suicide.
Fortunately, in 2018, mental health has become an important topic of conversation. It is no longer taboo to seek help for mental health issues, as it once was. If you are feeling depressed, talk to your doctor about your symptoms.
Gluten-free diets may be hurting us
This is a case where something we previously thought was healthy has turned out to be a fad. In 2018, scientists have warned against following a gluten-free diet without a medical reason.
Findings from a large study suggest that a low-gluten diet may increase your odds of developing type 2 diabetes. This conclusion is based on a gluten-free diet that is low in fiber. So if you must avoid gluten, or if you want to, be sure that you’re getting adequate fiber from fruits and vegetables.
Another study showed that gluten-free products weren’t as nutrient-dense as their gluten-containing counterparts.
Heart disease is not a new health concern by far, but it continues to be a growing health concern for women. More men die of heart disease than women, but females are less likely to get a proper diagnosis while there’s still time to correct the problem.
The symptoms of heart disease are similar for men and women. So if you’re having trouble walking up a flight of stairs and getting winded easily, press your doctor to evaluate your heart health. And if you’re having symptoms like chest pain, jaw pain, shoulder aches, nausea or vomiting, get to the doctor right away. These could be signs of a heart attack.
Again, breast cancer is not a new concern for women. However, it is a growing concern. In 2018, experts estimate that 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed while we’ll see 63,960 cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
You can reduce your breast cancer risk by avoiding alcohol and cigarettes, eating right and exercising. But possibly the most important thing you can do is to get regular screenings. Early detection could truly mean the difference between life and death.
As we continue through this year, keep these health concerns in mind and do what you can to remain safe. This includes eating right, exercising and getting regular preventative care.