Imagine living without illness to slow you down. While there are no lifetime guarantees, enough scientific research has been done to make long, healthy living a possibility.

To help women boost health, WebMD examined five medical conditions that are of great concern to them: heart disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis, depression, and autoimmune diseases.

We looked at the risk factors for each disease and asked the experts what women could do to prevent such ailments.

In order to make full use of this information, Saralyn Mark, MD, encourages women to take charge of their health. She says women need to work in partnership with their doctors by finding out their family medical history, educating themselves on health issues, and paying attention to their bodies.

“You know what makes you feel good, you know when you don’t feel well. Understanding your body is key,” says Mark, senior medical adviser for the Office on Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading killer of both women and men. In women, the condition is responsible for about 29 % of deaths, reports the CDC.

Yet death in itself isn’t the biggest problem for women with heart disease. The real trouble is in premature death and disability, says Cindy Pearson, executive director of the National Women’s Health Network.

“There are far too many women dying of heart disease in their 60s, when no one expects to die because that’s too young in this country,” says Pearson. “There are (also) women, who, for many years, are really ill with heart disease– being out of breath, not being able to walk up one flight of stairs … because heart disease impairs their ability to get around.”.

Although more men die of heart disease than women, females tend to be under-diagnosed, often to the point that it’s too late to help them once the condition is discovered.

“The symptoms for women are typical for women, and they are often missed by doctors and the patient themselves,” Mark explains. “We often think of symptoms … like chest pain. Some people may have that, but others may just have a little bit of jaw pain, shoulder ache, nausea, vomiting, or shortness of breath.”.
Heart Disease continued …
The American Heart Association lists risk factors for heart disease as:.

Increasing age.
Male sex (men typically develop heart disease at a younger age).
Heredity (including race). People with family history of the disease have greater risk. So do African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and some Asian-Americans.
Smoking.
High blood cholesterol.
High blood pressure.
Physical inactivity.
Obesity and overweight.
Diabetes.

“The burden of heart disease in women is very great,” says Gregory Burke, MD, professor and chairman of the department of public health sciences at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. “The earlier folks adapt healthier behaviors, the lower their overall risk for heart disease or stroke outcomes.”.

Burke says people can reduce their risk of heart disease by modifying lifestyle to include a well-balanced diet and exercise workouts.

Simple Tips for a Perfect Pap Smear

Pap smears are important screening means for the detection of cervical cancer. All women must have yearly Pap smear starting at age twenty one, as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Females aged twenty one to twenty nine should have Pap smear for every 2 years, then once a year for women with ages thirty to sixty four. When you are scheduled to have your subsequent Pat test, you must try to have an appointment with your doctor that is around two weeks once you have had your first day of your monthly cycle.
To make sure that you attain the most perfect results of your Pap smear, you have to be prepared properly for your pelvic examination annually. Follow these following easy tips for a more precise result of your Pap smear.
Here are the helpful reminders:
• Refrain from using vaginal douches for a minimum of three days before your appointment
• Avoid doing sexual intercourse for forty eight hours before your schedule of Pap smear
• Never use birth control jellies or foam and tampons for forty eight hours before your appointment.
Simple tips for an accurate result of Pap smear:
• Schedule your Pap smear around one week or two weeks after your expected monthly menstrual cycle. If your menstruation starts, contact your doctor for rescheduling.
• Jot down any queries you think that you have for your physician, and bring your list with you to your scheduled examination.
• Do not fail to tell your physicians about any discharges, infections, or pain that you have experienced since your previous test. If you had encountered abnormal results of your Pap smear that your doctor might not have recorded, inform her about the results. Likewise, you have to make sure that you will tell her about your exposure to HPV if ever you had.
• If you get abnormal results, try to have a detailed clarification about the connotation from your physician. Try to ask questions if you do not understand.
• Follow the advice of your doctor about any additional diagnostic/treatment measures. Bear in mind also, that it is always your privilege to ask for further opinion from other doctors.

Important Medical Tests for Women

Women need to undergo medical screenings and tests throughout their lives. Why are these needed? You will learn from this article the benefits of taking these medical tests.

• Pap test – this test is also known as Pap smear. This test is important for women with ages of twenty one and above. Women who are sexually active under twenty one years of age also need this Pap test. Pap test was developed originally by Dr. George Papanicolaou in 1950’s that it is also called Pap smear. This test detects irregular changes in the cells of the cervix that could cause cervical cancer. This cervical cancer will develop if not right away discovered through a yearly Pap smear.
• Before Pap smear was introduced, cancer of the cervix was the primary cause of mortality in women. However, due to the research and hard work of Dr. Papanicolaou in developing the Pap smear, cervical malignancy is now ranks 15th among the causes of deaths due to cancer among women.
• Mammograms – Annual mammography is highly recommended for women but it varies among groups of health professionals. The group of American Cancer Society and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advise mammography screening starting at age forty. Other groups of professionals including the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians, Us Preventive Services at Task Force and also the Canadian Task Force on Periodic Health Examination suggest annual screening starting at age fifty. These dissimilarities occur because the groups that recommend year mammograms starting at age fifty believe that the hazards of exposure to radiation may overshadow the benefits of the test commencing at earlier age.

Mammograms are harmless, fairly painless and needed for early discovery of cancer in the breast. When detected early, the survival rate of five years for breast malignancy is approximately 96% as declared by the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

The above mentioned tests are very necessary for women’s health. Having these medical tests will be beneficial for women aged forty and above