Why women should know their risk factors and start learning to put their own health firstAppeared in Smart Business LA County | October 2010
As primary caregivers for their children, spouses and parents, women too often neglect their own health care needs while tending to the priorities of others. But research shows that when women take care of themselves, the health of their families improves.
Smart Business spoke to Susan Melvin, director of family medicine at Long Beach Memorial, and Angela Sie, M.D., imaging director at MemorialCare Breast Center at Long Beach Memorial, to learn more.
Do certain diseases affect men and women differently?
For women, symptoms include nausea or dizziness; uncomfortable pressure or tightness; squeezing, fullness or heaviness in the chest that does not go away in a few minutes; cold sweats or pounding heart; pain radiating up the shoulders and neck or down the arms or back; difficulty breathing; and/or shortness of breath. Men say they feel crushing chest pain, like an elephant sitting on their chest. Activities as simple as lunchtime walking routines, desk exercises and replacing unhealthy snacks and sweets with vegetables and fruit can help reduce the risk.
What is the most common cancer?
Has there been progress in breast cancer?
What about female cancers?
Risks can be reduced by getting regular pap smears, avoiding smoking and limiting exposure to human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted virus that in some cases, when it is left undetected or untreated, may progress into cervical cancer.
Are there other diseases primarily affecting women?
Urinary track infections, or UTIs, are more common in women, with one in five developing UTIs during their lifetime. UTIs occurring during pregnancy can lead to premature delivery. Endometriosis, a reproductive condition that affects nearly 100 million women around the world, causes pelvic pain, heavy periods and irregularity with the menstrual cycle. Without treatment, the symptoms worsen and it can cause infertility.
How can employers help women stay well?
When individuals partner with doctors and hospitals by learning their family medical history, educating themselves about medical issues, paying attention to changes in their bodies and taking even the simplest of steps tov improve their health, the results can be significant and everyone benefits.
Susan Melvin, D.O., is director of family medicine at Long Beach Memorial. Angela Sie, M.D., is imaging director at MemorialCare Breast Center at Long Beach Memorial. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit memorialcare.org.
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