General Health

Characteristics of non-reproductive health of women

Women and men have distinct experiences of the same conditions, including cardiovascular disease, depression and dementia, and women are more prone to urinary tract infections than males.

Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death (30 per cent) amongst women in the United States, and the leading cause of chronic disease amongst them, affecting nearly 40 per cent. The onset occurs at a later age in women than in men. For instance, the incidence of stroke in women under the age of 80 is less than that in men but higher in those aged over 80. Overall the lifetime risk of stroke in women exceeds that in men. The risk of cardiovascular disease amongst people with diabetes and smokers is likewise higher in women than in men. Many elements of cardiovascular disease vary between women and men, including risk factors, prevalence, physiology, symptoms, responsiveness to intervention and outcome.

Mental health

Almost 25 per cent of women will have mental health disorders over their lives. Women are at more risk than men from anxiety, depression, and psychosomatic problems. Globally, depression is the most enormous disease strain. In the United States, women have depression twice as often as males. The economic costs of depression on American women are estimated to reach $20 billion annually. The risks of depression in women have been connected to changing hormonal environment that women face, including adolescence, menstruation, pregnancy, delivery and menopause. Women also metabolise medicines used to treat depression differently than males. Suicide rates are fewer in women than in men (<1 per cent vs. 2.4 per cent), but remain a primary cause of mortality for women under the age of 60. In the United Kingdom, the Women’s Mental Health Taskforce was founded intending to address variations in mental health experiences and needs between women and men.

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Dementia

The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in the United States is estimated at 5.1 million, and of them two-thirds are women. Furthermore, women are significantly more likely to be the primary caretakers of adult family members with depression, such that they incur both the risks and difficulties of this condition. The lifetime risk for a woman of having Alzheimer’s disease is double that of men. Part of this discrepancy may be attributable to life expectancy, but altering hormonal status over their lifetime may also play a part in many variances in gene expression. Deaths attributable to dementia are higher in women than males (4.5 per cent of fatalities vs. 2.0 per cent). (4.5 per cent of fatalities vs. 2.0 percent).

Bone health

Osteoporosis ranks sixth amongst chronic diseases of women in the United States, with an overall prevalence of 18 per cent, and a substantially higher rate affecting the femur, neck or lumbar spine amongst women (16 per cent) than men (4 per cent), over the age of 50 Osteoporosis is a risk factor for bone fracture and roughly 20 per cent of senior individuals who incur a hip fracture die within a year. The gender gap is mostly the result of the lowering of oestrogen levels in women following menopause. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) has been proven to minimise this risk by 25–30 per cent and was a common basis for recommending it during the 1980s and 1990s.

However, the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study that proved that the hazards of HRT outweighed the benefits has since resulted in a drop in HRT usage.

Anaemia

Anaemia is a major global health problem for women. Women are impacted more than men, with up to 30 per cent of women found to be anaemic and 42 per cent of pregnant women. Anaemia is connected to a range of undesirable health consequences including a poor pregnancy outcome and reduced cognitive function (decreased concentration and attention) (decreased concentration and attention). The main cause of anaemia is iron deficiency. In the United States, women iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) affects 37 per cent of pregnant women, but globally the prevalence is as high as 80 per cent. IDA starts in adolescence, from extra menstrual blood loss, aggravated by the increased requirement for iron in growth and poor nutritional intake. In the adult woman, pregnancy leads to greater iron deficiency. 

References

1.    https://www.cdc.gov/women/lcod/

2.    https://hsrc.himmelfarb.gwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://en.wikipedia.org/&httpsredir=1&article=1269&context=sphhs_policy_facpubs

3.    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25083885/

4.    https://books.google.co.in/books?id=LbHWgd-mDbsC&pg=PA412&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

5.    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23210492/

6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1939792/

Author

 Yash Batra

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