Exploring the top health issues affecting women
Thu, 09 Feb 2012 04:00:00 GMT —
Women and men share many of the same health issues, but some of those issues affect women differently.
In fact, research and technology are advancing the ways doctors understand women's health.
Pronews 7 breaks down these issues and the work being done to help women lead healthier lives.
Cutting edge gender-based medicine and research is happening right here in Amarillo and some of it's findings may surprise you.
In just the last ten years, doctors have been studying the biological and physiological differences between men and women. As women, we handle everything from pain to medicine differently than our male counterparts.
"So for everything as small as calcium to vitamin D differences, or large things like Aspirin recommendations, that affect women and men differently. We can now modify those things based on gender and have real outcomes," said Dr. Joanna Wilson, Center for Women's Health and Gender-Based Medicine.
Outcomes on many issues like, heart disease, cancers, autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, having a healthy pregnancy and mental health issues like depression.
In fact, 12 million females are affected by it annually, more than men according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Experts say that's because of hormonal changes that trigger the condition.
"especially, when you go through menopausal changes with your mood swings and obviously because of all that women they tend to be a little bit more, conscious and irritable about certain things that normally wouldn't bother them in the past," said Dr. Cristiane Tan, BSA Family Medical Clinic.
Doctors have even found that depression is treatable during pregnancy.
"A depressed mother should never stop her anti-depressants when she gets pregnant, because depression is the worse thing you can do for a fetus," said Dr. Thomas W. Hale, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center.With advancements in medicine, doctors say depressed women can adjust to find the right medication, with less loaded side-effects.
Autoimmune diseases affect about 75% of women. According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, diabetes, thyroid disease, and lupus make up the fourth-largest cause of disability in women.
"Women are very verbal, so they will come out and they'll pretty much say I'm having this fatigue or I'm having this weight loss for this long time," said Dr. Tan.
Women also need to be aware of their gynecological health. This year, there is a recommended change to when women should get an annual pap smear, they say age 21, despite sexual activity.
Ladies, that "annual exam", may no longer be annual.
"In women who are 21 to 29 pap smears should be done every two years and not annually," said Dr. Robert Kauffman, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center.
For women 30 to menopausal age, a pap smear should be done every three years.
Surprising findings in women's health and this is just the beginning.