This month is Women’s History Month. As we celebrate all the women in our family, let’s take a moment to consider how we can focus on their health. Health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not just the absence of sickness. In many areas of health, women experience illness earlier and more severe than men. We know that health is not just influenced by how well one takes care of themself, but by other conditions such as access to healthcare, poverty, and family responsibilities. Often women are the caretakers and put their own health needs aside. Ensuring women have access to quality care can lead to improved health for the entire family.
Last month we focused on heart disease and ways to prevent it such as monitoring cholesterol, controlling blood pressure, and maintaining a healthy body weight. Another group of illnesses that affect women more than men, are autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune disease occurs when cells that normally attack threats to the body such as viruses, attack healthy cells. Examples of autoimmune disease are lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and certain types of hair loss. Common signs of auto-immune diseases are exhaustion, mild fever, pain, skin irritation, and dizziness. Women often ignore these early signs contributing them to day-to-day activities. Early diagnosis and awareness of illnesses give the best chances for treatment and management.
Don’t skip out on your routine checkups! Take an opportunity this month to focus on your health and wellness. Your health matters! Stay healthy and be well.
Written by Nicole Baldwin, FNP-C Family Nurse Practitioner