Lady Killers: What Diseases Take Women Out Before Their Time
We all know amazing women—women who have risen above circumstances, those with resiliency, those who have influenced our culture, our times, and our world. We may be fortunate to have some of these women as mothers, sisters, or daughters. We may also have been influenced by women who are in our personal “Hall of Fame”—those women we look up to and want to emulate, those who have paved the way and have succeeded by accomplishing what they believe is important in life. Whatever they did, they did it with their whole heart and left their mark on humanity—and indelibly on us.
One of the worst scenarios for a woman is that her influence and life are unnecessarily cut short due to preventable health problems, many of which can be averted by adopting a healthy nutritional and lifestyle pattern. You may be curious to know just what does most frequently cut a woman’s life short. According to the Mayo Clinic, here are the top eight conditions that take women’s lives:
1. Heart disease. Heart disease causes nearly 350,000 deaths each year, but it is also one of the most preventable health conditions. Diet and lifestyle modifications can greatly reduce one’s risk for developing heart disease.
2. Cancer. There are three main types of cancer that most frequently take a women’s life, and the leading cause of cancer deaths among women is not breast cancer, but lung cancer—which takes more than 70,000 U.S. women’s lives per year. (Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of death among U.S. women, coming in a 40,000 deaths per year.) Coming in third is colorectal cancer.
3. Stroke. Approximately 106,000 women in the U.S. die of stroke each year. Strokes can not only be deadly, but they also are a leading cause of disability.
4. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is a group of chronic lung conditions, including bronchitis and emphysema. Smoking is often the culprit and is associated with lung cancer. Approximately 65,000 U.S. women die of COPD each year.
5. Alzheimer’s disease. Progressively degenerating one’s brain, leading to severe memory loss and ultimately to total mental impairment, Alzheimer’s disease takes the minds and lives of approximately 45,000 U.S. women each year.
6. Diabetes. Affecting how the body uses blood sugar, diabetes affects about 18 million Americans. Those with diabetes have a higher risk of dying than those without the condition—and the risk is greater for women. Short of death, diabetes can also cause blindness, kidney failure, and severe nerve damage.
7. Accidents. Ranging from automobiles to falls, accidents kill more than 38,000 women each year—and many of these accidents happen in the home.
8. Pneumonia and influenza. Around 36,000 U.S. women die as a result of a gruesome twosome, the combined forces of pneumonia and influenza—both of which adversely affect the lungs.
That’s quite a list . . . and, what’s more, the top “killer” may vary according to age group. For example, heart disease is the greatest threat to a woman’s health over her entire lifetime; for a twentysomething woman, however, the greatest threat is an accident. Women between the ages of 35 and 64 have a higher risk of cancer as their demise.
No matter what your age, however, there are dietary and lifestyle steps you can take to guard against your life being snuffed out prematurely. Be sure to eat right, exercise regularly, practice good hygiene, reduce your environmental toxins, and always take proper safety measures while driving and otherwise going about your day.