When it comes to women and wellness, Breast Cancer Awareness is often heavily promoted. But, did you know that heart disease was the leading cause of death for females in the United States? St. James Parish Hospital takes pride in continuing to expand the services and specialists we offer to help women lead their healthiest lives.
We are equipped to address the full spectrum of Women's Wellness Services right here at home. From screenings—blood tests and diagnostics—to wellness exams, surgeries and female-related rehab we can not only help you here, but we can often fit you in sooner.
We are also proud to offer a large medical staff of local specialists that see patients here—primary care physicians, urologists, oncologists, surgeons, cardiologists and gynecologists—all of which are well-equipped and experienced in addressing the specialized needs of females.
The CDC reports that Heart Disease is the leading cause of female deaths, taking the lives of one in four women. In addition, many cardiovascular issues are harder to detect in women due to less noticeable symptoms. According to the American Heart Association, women may have a heart attack without chest pressure and are more likely to experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, pressure in the abdomen, extreme fatigue and lightheadedness.
Cancer kills more than 250,000 people each year in the United States and is the second leading cause of death in females. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in females; however, breast cancer death rates are declining due to earlier detection by mammograms and improvements in treatments. Lung cancer and thyroid cancer round out the top three leading causes of cancer in females. It’s generally a consensus that eating healthy, being active, limiting alcohol, quitting smoking and having regular screenings reduce the risk of most types of cancer.
According to the CDC, diabetes increases the risk of female heart disease by four times (compared to two times in men). Women are also more likely to experience diabetes-related complications such as blindness, kidney disease and depression. High blood sugar levels in women with diabetes can also cause more yeast infections, urinary tract infections, difficulty conceiving and problems during pregnancy. In addition, 50% of women with gestational diabetes develop Type 2 diabetes later in life and should be checked following pregnancies.
Chronic respiratory diseases include diseases of the airways and other structures of the lung. The CDC reports that chronic lower respiratory diseases—such as asthma and COPD—are the third leading cause of death in women, but ultimately can be prevented. Avoiding exposure to tobacco smoke, home and workplace air pollutants and respiratory infections can prevent the development of COPD. Patients can improve symptoms with medications, oxygen therapy and even pulmonary/COPD rehabilitation.
Autoimmune diseases, which are more common in women than men, are the result of the body’s natural defense system not being able to tell the difference between your own cells and foreign cells, causing the body to mistakenly attack normal cells. Common autoimmune diseases in women include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, lupus and thyroid diseases. Common symptoms of many autoimmune disorders include fatigue, joint pain, skin problems, swollen glands, recurring fever and abdominal issues. Autoimmune diseases are often hard to detect and are usually diagnosed through a combination of symptoms, blood markers and sometimes tissue biopsies. Women should talk to a physician when they notice a new symptom such as those outlined—especially if they were healthy and suddenly feel different.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, of the 10 million Americans with Osteoporosis, 80% are women,. This is due mostly to their smaller, thinner bones and post-menopause reduction in the hormone estrogen (which protects bones). Approximately one in two women over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Although post-menopausal women are more likely to suffer the effects of bone loss, people can start addressing their bone health at any age by getting adequate calcium and Vitamin D, eating plenty fruits and vegetables, engaging in regular exercise (weight-bearing and muscle strengthening), quitting smoking and limiting alcohol.
Bladder and Urinary Problems:
Women commonly have bladder and urinary problems (such as incontinence and UTIs) which can often be attributed to anatomy, pregnancy and childbirth. Doctors may choose to treat UTIs with antibiotics after analyzing urine samples. In addition, a CT or MRI may be ordered to check for abnormalities in the urinary tract. To treat incontinence a physician may perform certain diagnostic tests and prescribe a combination of medications and specialized physical therapy.
The Associated Press recently reported that over 40% of women (compared to 35% of men) are obese (based on a CDC study) and that number continues to grow. Obesity (a BMI of 30 or greater) is often considered one of the nation’s leading health concerns because it can trigger so many health problems including diabetes and heart disease. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. CLICK HERE to calculate your BMI.
WE'RE HERE TO HELP
St. James Parish Hospital offers services to help diagnose and treat many of the health concerns females of all ages face. When it comes to better health across the board, what we should do is clear. Nearly each of the preventative measures outlined for the above health problems included:
A healthy diet
Plenty fruits and veggies
Reduced alcohol intake
And, quitting smoking
The best medicine for better health has always been at our fingertips. Choose one area to focus on and make small improvements. Small changes for better health, make a big difference.
We are here for you with the services below, but we challenge you to take care of yourself (including taking advantage of wellness visits and recommended screenings).