7 Health Risks All Women Must Know!
Being a woman puts you at risks of several medical conditions that the opposite gender may not even have to worry about. Here are the top 7 health risks you and your girlfriends need to know before it’s too late!
1. Breast Cancer
You’ve probably heard of this one. That’s because one in every 17 women in Singapore is diagnosed with breast cancer. Your risk will most likely differ from your girlfriend’s, colleagues’ or even your sister’s. Age is a definite risk with 70% of women diagnosed with breast cancer being above the age of 40. Your risk further increases if you have a family history of breast cancer or if you consume postmenopausal Hormonal Replacement Therapy for 5 years. Weight gain post-menopause is something you can manage to reduce your risk. It is best to do annual mammography upon the age of 40.
2. Cardiovascular Disease
Did you know that heart disease and stroke, together top the chart as the number 1 killer of women in Singapore? 1 out of 3 women die of heart attack in a year. Certain heart failure affect women more than men. Women tend to have subtle symptoms unrelated to chest pain such as unusual fatigue, pain in arms or shortness of breath. This is often due to the lack of physical activity, high fat diet and smoking alongside family history and age. Detection as early as the age of 18 helps to prevent complications like heart failure, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease. If you already have these medical conditions, you have a greater risk for cardiovascular disease and should go for health screening regularly.
3. Uterus Cancer
Being classified as the 3rd most common cancer among women above the age of 50 in Singapore, uterus cancer can also affect women of any age with no identified risk factors. Some of which are hypertension, obesity and diabetes. Abnormal vaginal bleeding, discharge and occasional pelvic pain the main clinical symptoms. Consult your doctor for proper tests and diagnosis and do an annual pelvic examination. A healthy diet that is low in fat, cholesterol and high in fibre may help to reduce its risk but early detection plays a big part in prevention too!
Osteoporosis is a medical condition where your bones become weak and are susceptible to fractures. Women may lose up to 20% of their bone mass after menopause where a minor crack bump or fall may cause a serious fracture. Over the last 30 years, hip fractures among women aged above 50 have increased by 5 times. Asian women with a family history of osteoporosis, has low bone mass and a slender body frame are at risk, by default. Take charge of your lifestyle by staying physically active, have a nutritious diet with calcium-rich foods and a good dose of sunshine (Vitamin D) for a healthier bone health!
5. Colorectal Cancer
Also known as cancer of the large intestine, it usually starts off as a tiny, non-cancerous growth on the colon wall which may turn cancerous. Being the top 2 cancer among women in Singapore with no symptoms in the early stages, you should consider screening if you are aged 50 and above. Chinese Singaporeans have a greater risk compared to the minorities. Those with a history of ovary, uterus or breast cancer are at a greater risk, apart from family history of this cancer itself. Smoking and a high-fat diet with low fruits and vegetables intake are controllable risk factors you can definitely manage.
To begin with, women naturally have a higher body fat percentage as compared to men. Obesity is on the rise among Singaporeans and being one of the major risk factor for multiple health conditions is not making it any less worrying. It all starts off with a high caloric diet and sedentary lifestyle which may lead to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Watch your portion sizes and ensure that you burn some calories to have a healthy balanced weight. Simply calculate your BMI to better manage your risk!
Being a woman entitles you to the possibility of developing the 3rd type of diabetes – gestational diabetes, during pregnancy. Although it is uncommon, type 1 & 2 diabetes on the other hand are on the rise among Singaporeans. While an increase in age increases its risk, there are some things that you can take control and change. These includes maintaining a healthy weight, physical activity, avoid smoking and limiting your alcohol intake. Start screening if you are above the age of 40 and have diabetic family members. Prevention is definitely better than cure for this lifelong medical condition!