For many women, it can be difficult to keep up with the best practices for health and wellness. Topics are constantly changing, and it can be difficult to sift through social media and targeted advertising to find real recommendations from medical professionals. That’s why we’re doing a round-up of five hot topics for women’s wellness — and showing you exactly where you can go to find more detailed information. Because there’s no better way to celebrate Women’s Health Week than staying on top of your own wellness!
Stress Management for the Modern Woman
There are many different types of stress — and some can even be good! A healthy amount of stress can keep you motivated to accomplish goals in your personal and professional life. But chronic stress is very different and can often be crippling, hindering your ability to perform and enjoy daily tasks.
For everyone, stress can come from many sources, including relationships, jobs, and money. But women can often face additional stressors based on societal pressures. These often revolve around caregiving, and can foster an unhealthy pattern of women nurturing other people in their life and neglecting their own needs. The Cleveland Clinic more fully analyzes this topic, outlining specific symptoms to look out for as well as techniques to help manage this unique category of stress.
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep as a Woman
The standard guidelines for recommended sleep times are fairly well-known — seven to nine hours each night for adults. What might surprise you is that women on average sleep eight hours and 27 minutes. This is well within the threshold and actually 11 minutes longer than the average man’s sleep cycle. What’s alarming is that studies show women also have worse quality sleep than their male counterparts. Possible reasons for this difference in quality is that women are more likely to get up and tend to others at night, and more likely to nap during the day.
The Sleep Foundation did a deeper dive into the contributing factors and identified a number of conditions that affect significantly more women than men. These include insomnia, nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder, restless legs syndrome, and more. Different treatment options are available for each.
Ways Diabetes Can Be Different for Women
Diabetes is a prevalent disease across populations throughout the U.S. While it affects both men and women at equal rates, diabetes affects women differently than men. A number of side effects are found more often for women. This includes a higher risk for both blindness and depression as complicating factors. There have also been a number of studies linking diabetes and heart disease in women. These found that when compared to men, diabetic women are at increased risk for heart disease and also that they have lower survival rates and worse quality of life following a heart attack.
Women of color are especially susceptible to complications from diabetes, with Black, Hispanic, Asian, and American Indian women experiencing diabetes at significantly higher rates. The Office on Women’s Health offers a comprehensive FAQ section that provides additional details about diabetes in women, including information about gestational diabetes, which only affects pregnant women.
What Women Should Know About Heart Health
As mentioned in relation to diabetes, women must take additional care when it comes to heart health. In fact, heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S.
Experts say that midlife is an especially risky time for women, with menopause causing changes in the body that bring about additional risk factors for heart conditions like weight gain, changes in body composition, and increase in cholesterol. Also important to note is that women present different signs when having a heart attack. Many of the most widely known symptoms are male-centered, but knowing the subtleties for female heart attacks can be life-saving in an emergency. For example, chest pain is not always a notable factor, and may instead be replaced by abdomen pain, as well as fainting, indigestion, and fatigue.
The American Heart Association has an infographic explaining these differences, as well as other resources for women looking to decrease their risk factors.
Why Women Should Stay Vigilant with Breast Cancer
Many women have a good foundation of knowledge when it comes to breast cancer, and understand that it disproportionately affects women. It is possible for men to have breast cancer, but it is far rarer. For women, routine breast checks ought to be a part of daily life. Regularly checking for lumps, discharge, and other abnormalities is key in early identification.
Catching breast cancer quickly makes recovery and remission much more likely. So what are the next steps if something does catch your eye? Our recent blog identifies next steps you can take with a breast health specialist and outlines some of the services that you can expect at your appointment. If something is troubling you, seeing an expert can bring you peace of mind and ensure prompt treatment if needed.
Where to Go for More
While it’s always good to stay on top of trending topics in the wellness field, seeking professional medical assistance is the only way to get an expert opinion that’s specifically catered to you. If one of the above conditions stands out in your life, scheduling a personal appointment with a trusted provider can offer additional clarity.
For women in Southern Maryland, UM Charles Regional offers a complete portfolio of services to meet your needs. Explore our Women’s Health practice for women-centered care, Breast Health office for breast-specific questions, or our Primary Care providers for any general health concerns.