Each year, Mother’s Day marks the beginning of National Women’s Health Week, a national effort to educate Americans about women’s health and to work towards prevention and treatment solutions. While women live longer, on average, than men in the U.S., there are many health issues that only affect women or affect them more severely.
In honor of National Women’s Health Week, we are taking a look at some important women’s health issues and examining how women can live longer, healthier lives.
Get Early and Regular Prenatal Care
Pregnancy is unique to women, and it means big changes for a woman’s body. Women can take care of their own health and their baby’s health by scheduling regular prenatal appointments as soon as they learn they are pregnant. Regular appointments during a pregnancy are crucial; in fact, babies born to mothers who did not receive prenatal care were three times more likely to have a low birth weight. The Office on Women’s Health of the US Department of Health and Human Services has developed this useful guide for staying healthy when you are pregnant.
Undergo Breast and Cervical Cancer Screenings
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women, with one in eight American women developing the disease at some point in their lifetime. Breast self-exams and mammograms are the most important ways to detect breast cancer early before it becomes deadly. Check out the American Cancer Society’s guide for the early detection of breast cancer to learn more about how often women should get mammograms, and at what age.
Stop Migraine Headaches From Snowballing
Women are three times more likely than men to experience migraine headaches, and researchers are beginning to learn why. Hormonal fluctuations play a major role. While there is no cure for migraine headaches, there are treatments to control the frequency of attacks. Women should take steps to control migraines as soon as possible, as each migraine makes the chances of having another one more likely. Migraines can be highly disruptive to women’s lives, but biopharmaceutical researchers are searching for new ways to address the root causes of migraines.
Get Screenings for Osteoporosis and Take Steps to Prevent Osteoarthritis
Women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis, or thinning of the bones, than men. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends bone density screenings for women over the age of 65, and for men and women who meet certain other criteria. But it’s worth putting the work in now to get plenty of exercise and consume calcium to help prevent osteoporosis.
Women are also at greater risk of developing osteoarthritis, or loss of protective cartilage around joints. There are many reasons women suffer more from osteoarthritis, which is why it is extremely important for women to talk steps to monitor and take care of their bone health. Exercise is a great way to help prevent or reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis by strengthening the muscles around the joints.
PPA’s Free Clinic Finder
Let the women in your life know that they can use PPA’s resources to identify free clinics in their Free Clinic Finder to identify free clinics in their area if they need access to care.
If you or someone you love struggles with affordable access to medicines, there are resources available that may be able to help: The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) helps connect patients with patient assistance programs that provide free or nearly free prescription medicines. For more information, visit www.pparx.org.