May 12-18 is National Women’s Health Week, a time set aside to promote the importance of women’s health. Coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, the goal of the observance this year is to encourage women improve their physical and mental health by taking these five steps:
- Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.
- Get active.
- Eat healthy.
- Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
- Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet, and texting while driving.
There are some health issues in particular that disproportionately or exclusively affect women. Here are some sobering statistics on those conditions:
One in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer.
Do to misuse or a lack of access to birth control, half of all pregnancies in the US are unplanned.
More than 6 million women in the US ages 15–44 years are infertile, or have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant.
Some menopause symptoms can negatively affect a woman’s quality of life, like vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, sleep problems, mood changes, weight gain, and thinning hair.
At least 5.5 million women in the US suffer from endometriosis, experiencing extreme, chronic pain and often infertility.
Two-thirds of people who suffer from multiple sclerosis are women.
Major Depressive Disorder
Twice as many women as men suffer from major depressive disorder.
So ladies, take control of your health and be sure to get treatment and preventative screenings. And guys – show the ladies in your life that you care by encouraging them to get checkups.
Sources: cdc.gov, womenshealth.gov, mayoclinic.com, and clevelandclinic.com, and womenshealthresearch.org