When left untreated or undiagnosed, chronic conditions significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. And although they affect people of all genders, some conditions are more prevalent among women. Out of the 21 chronic conditions defined by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), there are six that occur more frequently in women: hypertension, arthritis, depression, dementia, asthma, and osteoporosis.
This just reiterates the need for tailored treatment plans. Omnia Health is well aware of the fact that achieving optimal health requires a personalized approach. We also believe in the importance of increased awareness, research, and support systems surrounding women’s health. For those reasons, we believe it’s worthwhile to provide more information regarding the above mentioned chronic conditions that are more common among women. Shedding light on the challenges they pose, potential causes, and available management strategies — the more you know, the better.
Commonly known as high blood pressure, hypertension is a significant health concern for women. It is not just a mere cardiovascular condition. Hypertension can manifest differently in females as a result of hormonal fluctuations during various life stages such as:
- Contraceptive Methods
- Hormone Replacement Therapies
In all of these instances, blood pressure regulation may be directly impacted and require specialized attention. Awareness, early detection, and customized interventions are crucial in empowering women to effectively manage their blood pressure and alleviate potential risks associated with this multifaceted condition.
This often debilitating condition disproportionately affects women. Causing inflammation and joint pain, arthritis can lead to reduced mobility and negatively impact daily activities. As a result of hormonal and genetic factors, women are more susceptible to certain types of arthritis such as:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Beyond the physical implications, these conditions affect women’s emotional wellbeing and overall quality of life. Targeted research, increased awareness, and addressing gender-specific aspects of arthritis are critical to effectively supporting and improving women’s health.
Affecting millions worldwide, depression is a complex and significant mental health concern. Although depression transcends age, ethnicity and socioeconomic status, it affects women more often and differently than men.
1 in 8 women experience depression in their lifetime — twice the rate of men.
Source: National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
For women, the experience often involves grappling with a range of emotional, psychological, and physiological symptoms due to:
- Hormonal Fluctuations
- Life Transitions
- Societal Pressures
- Gender-Specific Stressors
Properly acknowledging, discussing and addressing depression among women is essential for the betterment of families, communities and society as a whole. We must do our part to erase the stigma surrounding mental health issues by providing accessible, effective and empathetic care to those who are silently struggling.
The appearance of this neurological condition is notably higher in women due to their tendency to live longer than men. As a result, they face a greater risk of developing cognitive decline and memory loss associated with various forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s. According to the National Health Services (NHS) early signs of dementia in women include:
- Memory Loss
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Inability To Carry Out Familiar Daily Tasks
- Struggling To Follow A Conversation Or Find The Right Word
- Confusion Regarding Time Or Place
- Mood Changes i.e. Withdrawal Or Depression
This chronic condition is filled with complexities and requires a multifaceted approach. That being said, there is an undeniable need for targeted research, early detection, and comprehensive caregiving strategies surrounding the specific needs and challenges encountered by women with dementia.
This chronic respiratory condition poses distinct challenges for women due to fluctuations in estrogen levels during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause. In these instances, the severity and frequency of asthma symptoms can be directly impacted. Additionally, certain triggers can interact with hormonal changes and worsen the condition for women. These triggers include:
- Respiratory Infections
Women need and deserve to work with healthcare professionals who take these factors into account. Regular monitoring, lifestyle adjustments and medications when necessary, can empower women to effectively control the complexities posed by asthma.
Characterized by a gradual reduction in bone density and quality, osteoporosis leads to an increased susceptibility to fractures (particularly in the spine, hips, and wrists) and skeletal deformities. This condition typically emerges during the postmenopausal phase, as decreased estrogen levels leads to diminished bone mass.
Of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, about eight million or 80% are women. Approximately one in two women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
Source: Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation
Current prevention and management strategies incorporate a combination of balanced nutrition, weight bearing exercises, adequate calcium and vitamin D intake, and medication in some instances. Taking proactive measures and addressing osteoporosis is important for the wellbeing of women and for the overall quality of life among aging populations.
The Bigger Picture
In addition to the health issues we’ve already listed, women can often be affected by a wide array of chronic conditions. These include and are not limited to:
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Autoimmune Diseases i.e. Multiple Sclerosis
Chronic conditions that predominantly affect women come with a wide array of ailments and challenges, requiring specific management strategies. While there’s no denying genetics and hormonal factors play a significant role, these conditions bring attention to the detailed connection between biological, environmental, and lifestyle factors.
Omnia Health takes all these variables into account when developing an individualized course of action for our patients. We are more than Functional Medicine professionals, we are advocates for women whose health concerns need to be heard.
Schedule your FREE consultation today and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, happier future.