For Women’s month, we have decided to prioritize women’s health and this is because women are the cornerstones and foundations for everyone around us. You might think that this is a feminist view, however, if it weren’t for women, no children or men would be in this world so this post is dedicated to all the beautiful women out there!!
Women tend to take on a massive role in their homes and in their family’s everyday lives, neglecting their health whilst prioritizing others above themselves. If this resonates with you, the rest of this post will definitely benefit you.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), health is defined as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. This definition encompasses all aspects of health for all and one should not only look at health in the physical form or in absence of disease. There is so much more to health than not having any health-related issues.
According to an article published on the WHO website, the top 10 major health issues which affect women are:
· Two of the most common cancers which affect women are breast and cervical cancer and early detection of these cancers are imperative to their longevity.
· Issues with regards to reproductive health contribute to 1/3 of health issues in women. Included in this category is unsafe sex, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, interstitial cystitis and PCOS.
· Some of the most common direct causes of maternal injury and death are excessive blood loss, infection, high blood pressure, unsafe abortion, and obstructed labour, as well as indirect causes such as anaemia, malaria, and heart disease.
· Many young women suffer from HIV worldwide and are affected by this disease as they struggle to protect themselves from contracting the virus and many do not have access to healthcare to receive treatment once they are infected.
· The human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the most common STI in the world and it is important for women to protect themselves against it. However, it is also vital to prevent and treat diseases like gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis.
· While this issue is not a disease or illness, it affects one in three women under 50. Violence can take place in any form such as physical, sexual, emotional or even economical. It is important for women to recognise if they are affected by such types of violence and seek support and care to be able to protect themselves against it.
· Women are more prone than men to experience anxiety and depression. They are also prone to somatic complaints which are more intense, more numerous, and more frequent bodily symptoms than men. Women need to be sensitized to mental health issues, and this would give them the confidence to seek assistance.
· Some of the common NCDs which statistics report that women have died from are road traffic accidents, harmful use of tobacco, abuse of alcohol, drugs and substances, and obesity.
· Many adolescent girls are subjected to sexual and reproductive health challenges such as STIs, HIV and pregnancy. About 13million adolescent girls (under 20) give birth every year. Complications from those pregnancies and childbirth are a leading cause of death for young mothers whilst others suffer the consequences of unsafe abortion.
· Having often worked in the home, older women may have fewer pensions and benefits, less access to health care and social services than their male counterparts. They also suffer from these common health conditions as they age: Osteoporosis, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and dementia.
After mentioning the major issues concerning women, this next part should give you some much needed hope for your health. It doesn’t mean that these conditions and health concerns cannot be prevented or managed. Some of the simplest ways to take charge of your health is to exercise, eat healthy, meditate and be mindful of who you associate with. While many feel that there is just no time to do any of these with all the responsibilities that they have, women need to set aside time for themselves. As the saying goes, “you cannot pour from an empty cup”.
Regular exercise provides a great range of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, preventing diabetes, improving mood and cognitive function, and reducing mortality. For women, those benefits expand, thanks to their particular combination of hormones and health risks. Exercise’s additional benefits for women include:
· Helps counteract hormonally-driven mood swings
· Prevents bone loss and osteoporosis
· Maintains weight and/or assists with weight loss
· Improves sleep
Women, like men, should enjoy a variety of healthful foods from all of the foods groups, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, low-fat or fat-free dairy and lean protein. But women also have special nutrient needs, and, during each stage of a woman's life, these needs change.
A healthy eating plan regularly includes:
· Whole grains such as whole-grain bread, whole-wheat cereal flakes, whole-wheat pasta, bulgur, quinoa, brown rice or oats.
· Low-fat or fat-free dairy products including milk, yogurt or cheese; or calcium-fortified soymilk. (Non-dairy sources of calcium for people who do not consume dairy products include calcium-fortified foods and beverages, canned fish and some leafy greens.)
· Protein foods such as lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, lentils, tofu, nuts and seeds.
· Fruits — fresh, frozen, canned or dried without added sugars.
· Colourful vegetables — fresh, frozen or canned without added salt
· Iron-rich foods such as red meat, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, kale, spinach, beans, lentils and some fortified ready-to-eat cereals.
· Folate (or folic acid) during reproductive years
· Daily calcium and Vitamin D
There are various forms of meditation available and it is important to explore which form works for you. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), research studies have shown that meditation may improve symptoms of many medical conditions including high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), endometriosis, and insomnia.
Some benefits of meditation include:
· Help to control pain
· Improve anxiety and depression
· Help improve attention
· Help with quitting smoking
· Enhance self-awareness
· Decrease stress
· Promote calmness and relaxation
· Improve coping skills
· Increase overall well-being
Our social interactions are important to our health. If we surround ourselves with toxic people and places, this tends to present in our health with more sicknesses and ailments. Women need to set healthy boundaries with people and need to be able to step away from social interactions which negatively affect her state of well-being. This could be both physical and emotional and should include social media.
The above post highlights some of the major issues affecting women and how these issues can be prevented and managed. At The Wellness Hub, we recognise that your health is important and we aim to assist in you feeling great!! Click this link to see how breathing can assist with meditation or alternatively, book an appointment with us.
YOUR HEALTH MATTERS!!