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Top Five Health Concerns of Women | Community Education Pulse Uniform

Video Transcript:

Pulse Uniform examines the top five medical concerns for women: breast cancer, depression, heart disease, osteoporosis, and autoimmune disorder. Read on to learn more about the risk factors for each disease, and what women can do for prevention.

Breast Cancer

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, no matter your race or ethnicity. It is also second to lung cancer as the leading cause of death for women.

Risk Factors

Experts from the American Cancer Society lists the following risk factors for breast cancer:

  • Gender - Men can develop breast cancer but women are 100
    times more vulnerable to the disease. Women have more female
    hormones progesterone and estrogen that boosts growth of breast
  • Aging - 2 out of 3 invasive breast cancers are found in
    women age 55 or older.
  • Genes - About 5% to 10% of breast cancer cases are hereditary,
    which result directly from mutations inherited from a parent.
  • Family History - Women whose close blood relatives developed
    breast cancer are more exposed to risk.
  • Personal History - A woman with cancer in one breast has
    three to four times exposed to risk of developing new cancer
    in the other breast or in other parts of the same breast.
  • Smoking and Drinking Alcohol - Women who consume 2 to
    5 alcoholic drinks every day and smoke regularly have about
    1.5 times the risk compared to non-drinkers.
  • Obesity - Being overweight after menopause increases risk
    for women to develop breast cancer.

What Can You Do?

  • Exercise to stay fit and healthy
  • Maintain a balanced diet
  • Minimize alcohol consumption or quit completely
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid hormone replacement therapy
  • Get regular breast cancer screenings


Every year, 12 million women suffer from a depressive disorder compared to 6 million men based on a report published by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Women are more affected by depression especially during hormonal changes such as around menopause or after pregnancy (postpartum).

Risk Factors

According to NIMH, the risk factors associated with depression are the following:

  • Family history of depression
  • Personal history of depression
  • Severe chronic diseases
  • Drug abuse
  • Difficulties in life such as marital problems, financial
    problems, death of a family, etc.
  • Recent surgery
  • Too much worrying or chronic anxiety
  • History of heart diseases
  • Diseases that could trigger depression such as thyroid
    disease and vitamin deficiency
  • Having an eating disorder

What Can You Do?

To reduce the risk of depression, NIMH recommends the following:

  • finding a reason to live every day
  • be passionate at your job, live in a supportive community
  • finding a significant other
  • adopt a pet
  • volunteer for a cause

Also avoid using drugs that could trigger depression such as medications for seizures or hypertension.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world regardless of gender. According to a CDC report, heart disease accounts for the 29% of deaths among women.

The American Heart Association (AHA) lists the following risk factors for heart disease for women:

  • Family History
  • Personal History
  • Hypertension
  • Hypertension
  • Too much cholesterol
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

What Can You Do?

AHA's Go Red Campaign recommends the following activities to prevent heart disease:

  • Exercise to stay fit and lose weight
  • Follow a well-balanced diet
  • Quit Smoking
  • Get enough sleep
  • Control cholesterol
  • Control blood pressure
  • Reduce Blood Sugar


Osteoporosis is a highly-preventable disease, but it affects 44 million Americans, in which 68% are women.
The behaviors that people develop in their early life plays a crucial role in the development of the disease.
It is important to keep bones strong and prevent fractures.

Risk Factors

The risk factors of osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, include:

  • Gender (women are more vulnerable to the disease)
  • Old age
  • Weak bones
  • Family history
  • Ethnicity: Caucasian and Asian women are more at risk
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Estrogen loss due to menopause
  • Anorexia
  • Insufficient Vitamin D and calcium in the body
  • Intake of medications such as anticonvulsants and glucocorticoids
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol

What Can You Do?

  • Enrich calcium intake
  • Get enough Vitamin D
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Avoid bone fractures
  • Avoid certain medications such as steroids and proton
    pump inhibitors
  • Schedule for a bone density test
  • Don�t deprive yourself of protein
  • Eat foods that are rich in omega 3 and monosaturated
  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise to stay fit and healthy

Autoimmune Disorder

An autoimmune disorder happens when the immune system attacks healthy tissues by mistake. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and lupus.

In a recent report published by the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), about 78% of autoimmune diseases affects women.

Risk Factors

  • It is still not known what causes the immune system to go
    awry, but hormonal, genetic, and environmental factors are suspects.
  • Pinpointing specific risk factors is difficult because autoimmune
    diseases are still subject for medical research. Also, symptoms
    can also be nonspecific, which could hinder proper diagnosis.

What Can You Do?

Experts suggest the following practices to avoid and reverse autoimmune disorder:

  • Keep your digestive tract healthy
  • Chew your foods thoroughly
  • Control protein intake
  • Eat vegetable, fruits, and whole grains
  • Rest and sleep well