Skip to Main Content
Woman clutching her chest

The top women’s health concerns and how to protect your health

July 03, 2024
Share:

With a calendar packed with to-dos, it can be easy to put your health on the back burner, but it’s important not to do so. Knowing about women’s health concerns and how to prevent them is a good first step toward good health.

If we asked you what the most common health condition among women is, what’s your guess? If you said breast cancer, guess again! While breast cancer is a common disease in women, it isn’t the most common. 

5 Common Women’s Health Issues

If breast cancer isn’t the most common health condition among women, what is? Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiles a list of the leading causes of death among women. According to the most recent list, the top five causes of death are:

  1. Heart disease

  2. Cancer

  3. Stroke

  4. Chronic lower respiratory disease

  5. Alzheimer’s disease

Of these, heart disease and cancer are by far the most common health issues women face. Heart disease causes 21.8 percent of deaths among women, while cancer causes 20.5 percent. 

Heart disease is often thought of as a “man’s disease,” but it’s the leading cause of death for both men and women. Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease, but heart attack, arrhythmia (an abnormal heart rhythm) and heart failure are also common.

When it comes to cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women other than skin cancer. Lung cancer is the second most common type diagnosed and the most common cause of cancer death among women. Colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, endometrial cancer and uterine cancer are also prevalent among women.

The other three conditions—stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease (primarily chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and Alzheimer’s disease—are all more common in women than in men. 

What You Can Do to Protect Your Health

While there’s no foolproof way to prevent health issues, healthy lifestyle habits can go a long way. Wondering how you can improve your health? Start with these basics:

Get regular checkups. Do you have a primary care physician (PCP)? Seeing a PCP regularly for checkups is an important part of maintaining good health. These medical visits allow your physician to gauge your current health and offer suggestions for improving it and preventing disease, such as cancer screenings. 

Move your body. Regular exercise plays an important role in keeping your heart and body healthy. Aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking or jogging, each week. That’s just more than 20 minutes per day. If you prefer more strenuous activities like running, aim for 75 minutes each week.

Choose your foods wisely. Fill at least half your plate at meals with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Supplement those foods with a small portion of lean protein (such as turkey, chicken, fish or lentils), whole grains and healthy fats, like those found in avocados or nuts. Limit your intake of unhealthy additives such as saturated fat, added sugar and excess sodium.

Don’t smoke. Smoking remains the single most preventable cause of death, and it’s associated with each of the leading causes of death among women. If you smoke, talk with your primary care provider about a plan for quitting. (Think vaping is safer? Not exactly.)

Limit your alcohol consumption. If you drink, do so in moderation. That’s one alcoholic beverage max per day for women and two for men. Less is even better when it comes to your health.

Find healthy ways to manage stress. Everyone experiences stress, and a small amount of stress can be healthy and even beneficial. Too much stress, however, can be harmful. Incorporate activities and habits that lower your stress, such as meditation, prayer, exercise, reading or a hobby.

One other tip for staying at your healthiest? Build and maintain relationships! Being socially isolated can be as dangerous for your health as smoking in some cases. Carve out time to spend with those you love.

Recent Articles

Creating Value in Health Care: Improving Outcomes While Lowering Costs

JUL 05, 2024

Creating value in health care is essential to ensure patients have access to affordable, high-quality care. Learn more from St. Luke’s Health.

Read More Additional information about Creating Value in Health Care: Improving Outcomes While Lowering Costs

You’re Not Too Young to Think About Your Brain Health

JUL 05, 2024

This month, take time to think about reducing your risk for young-onset dementia. The experts at St. Luke’s Health can help.

Read More Additional information about You’re Not Too Young to Think About Your Brain Health

8 Summer Vacation Sun Safety Tips for Your Best Skin

JUL 05, 2024

Wherever your summer vacation takes your family, St. Luke’s Health has the advice you need to prevent sunburn and stay safe in the sun.

Read More Additional information about 8 Summer Vacation Sun Safety Tips for Your Best Skin