With the huge emphasis on women empowerment in government policy structuring and diversity strengthening staking its place firmly in corporate policies, we have reason enough to hope that women are continually seeing better days. With women increasingly moving away form stereotyped domestic roles, with men sharing the responsibilities of parenting in the 21st century, women are increasingly getting themselves out there.
Despite all this, the one area that is still shockingly neglectful of women is health and medicine. Dr. Susan Blumenthal, M.D and former Assistant Surgeon General, states that until recently (about two decades ago), "Women were largely excluded from being subjects in medical research and data was not analyzed for sex and gender differences." This was, in spite of the increasing representation of women in very significant roles in society and economic growth of the country.
It's ironic that some of the biggest risks to women's health persist despite the advances and lifestyle adaptations in the 21st century, but because of them.
Here's a quick look at the top five:
1. Breast Cancer
There has been a steady increase in the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer. About, one in eight women are likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer during the course of their lives.
The National Cancer Institute also predicts that 50 percent of women will suffer from breast cancer by 2030. The irony is that the number of survivors of breast cancer is going up, even though the disease itself is on a rise.
Large studies have linked lifestyle choices to the high rate of breast cancer. Consumption of alcohol, a sedentary lifestyle, tendency for obesity have all been linked to the rise in breast cancer. Surprisingly, the longer women live, the more they are prone to the disease -- because the years after menopause can wreak havoc on the hormonal balance of the body. There is also research that suggests that some pesticides have been linked to cancer.
With advances in nutrition studies and supplements flooding the market, the rising incidence of this disease is surprising. The bones become progressively brittle and porous, leading to restricted and rigid movements.
Doctors and researchers attribute this condition to prolonged deficiency of certain nutrients in the diet -- predominantly calcium and Vitamin D. Deficiencies are caused by improper absorption stemming from lack of exercise, choice of unhealthy diets, genetics and age. An indirect cause could be the ridiculous amount of emphasis on the perfect body that leads many women (especially teens and young women) to nose-dive into unhealthy body weights because of anorexia -- an effect of media on young minds. Certain alternative remedies with enzymes have been known to alleviate this condition.
Depression is another condition that is far more common in women than in men. Studies say that after adolescence, women are twice as likely to be depressed as men. In fact, between 10 percent - 25 percent of all women will encounter depression at some point in their lives. Though hormonal fluctuations that occur every month could be a major cause, one reason that can be directly attributed to millennial living style is the excessive use of cell-phones.
Social media and cell phone usage are directly linked to sleep and depression in young adults -- especially women.
4. Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases that include conditions like diabetes, eczema and celiac disease and many more have seen a drastic rise in recent times. One of the major causes of auto-immune diseases is environmental pollutants and chemical irritants. Environmental degradation is at such a high today that water, air and soil pollution are directly responsible for 40 percent of deaths worldwide.
5. Heart Disease
Cardiovascular disease is considered a top risk for women. Even though it is believed to be more common in men, the risk of death after a heart-attack is much higher for a woman. Cardiovascular health is directly related to a health lifestyle and food habits. Consumption of empty calories, sugar-loaded foods and not enough exercise can increase the risks many-fold, especially after the age of 50. Surprisingly, many women still do not realize how prone they are to a heart-disease.
About the Author
Devishobha is the founder of Kidskintha -- where parenting is inspired by kids. It's a specialized content zone for two important facets that touch a child's life- Parenting and Education. Get your own FREE eBook "53 Timeless Parenting Hacks To Raise Happy Kids" here. Watch out for her soon-to-be-launched line of merchandize exclusively inspired by everyday quips of children!