Top Diseases Affecting Women


Diseases have always exist in mankind but just as the world continues to evolve so are diseases. Health has become a great concern in the world today since the ages being affected have dropped drastically. A child being a victim of diabetes or cancer was a very rare thing and has now become another common existing cause in the modern world. Even in women we have seen an increase in certain diseases. Listed below are some of the diseases affecting women today.

As a woman, we have a lot of responsibilities. We are Mothers, Aunts, Guardians, School Teachers, Mentors and much more to the world at large. To be effective beings as we should, we need to take care of ourselves. We need to think about our family and friends when making decisions. Research is also a very important way in taking care of ourselves. Reading about existing diseases, their symptoms and how we can avoid them is critical. Reading is not loved by all but life sure is. So doing a bit of reading to help you live, should not hurt. Also when you take care of your inner being it’s exerted on the outside. For the women who takes care of themselves, they would be able to testify about the compliments they receive about their glowing skin and smile. Now we don’t have to pay attention to ourselves to get compliments but let’s face the truth. They usually help in some way.

I am just going to share some information about Cerebrovascular Disease. This information was received from the U.S. National Library of Medicine via the internet. Please pay close attention to the causes, symptoms and preventive measures. Educate yourself and pass on the knowledge to women around you. Let’s try to help each other live to see another day.

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Stroke

Cerebrovascular disease; CVA; Cerebral infarction; Cerebral hemorrhage; Ischemic stroke; Stroke – ischemic; Cerebrovascular accident; Stroke – hemorrhagic

Last reviewed: June 24, 2011.

A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. A stroke is sometimes called a “brain attack.”

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

If blood flow stops for longer than a few seconds, the brain cannot get blood and oxygen. Brain cells can die, causing permanent damage. There are two major types of stroke: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.

Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. This may happen in two ways:

  • A clot may form in an artery that is already very narrow. This is called a thrombotic stroke.
  • A clot may break off from another place in the blood vessels of the brain, or from some other part of the body, and travel up to the brain. This is called cerebral embolism, or an embolic stroke.

Ischemic strokes may be caused by clogged arteries. Fat, cholesterol, and other substances collect on the artery walls, forming a sticky substance called plaque. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in part of the brain becomes weak and bursts open, causing blood to leak into the brain. Some people have defects in the blood vessels of the brain that make this more likely.

STROKE RISK FACTORS

High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for strokes. The other major risk factors are:

People who have heart disease or poor blood flow in their legs caused by narrowed arteries are also more likely to have a stroke.

The chance of stroke is higher in people who live an unhealthy lifestyle by:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Drinking heavily
  • Eating too much fat or salt
  • Smoking
  • Taking cocaine and other illegal drugs

NB: Birth control pills can increase the chances of having blood clots. The risk is highest in woman who smoke and are older than 35.

Symptoms

The symptoms of stroke depend on what part of the brain is damaged. In some cases, a person may not know that he or she has had a stroke. Symptoms usually develop suddenly and without warning. Or, symptoms may occur on and off for the first day or two. Symptoms are usually most severe when the stroke first happens, but they may slowly get worse. A headache may occur, especially if the stroke is caused by bleeding in the brain. The headache:

  • Starts suddenly and may be severe
  • Occurs when you are lying flat
  • Wakes you up from sleep
  • Gets worse when you change positions or when you bend, strain, or cough

Other symptoms depend on how severe the stroke is and what part of the brain is affected.

Symptoms may include:

  • Change in alertness (including sleepinessunconsciousness, and coma)
  • Changes in hearing
  • Changes in taste
  • Changes that affect touch and the ability to feel pain, pressure, or different temperatures
  • Clumsiness
  • Confusion or loss of memory
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty writing or reading
  • Dizziness or abnormal feeling of movement (vertigo)
  • Lack of control over the bladder or bowels
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of coordination
  • Muscle weakness in the face, arm, or leg (usually just on one side)
  • Numbness or tingling on one side of the body
  • Personality, mood, or emotional changes
  • Problems with eyesight, including decreased vision, double vision, or total loss of vision
  • Trouble speaking or understanding others who are speaking
  • Trouble walking

Signs and tests

A complete exam should be done. Your doctor will:

  • Check for problems with vision, movement, feeling, reflexes, understanding, and speaking. Your doctor and nurses will repeat this exam over time to see if your stroke is getting worse or improving.
  • Listen for an abnormal sound, called a “bruit,” when using a stethoscope to listen to the carotid arteries in the neck. A bruit is caused by abnormal blood flow.
  • Check your blood pressure, which may be high.

Tests can help your doctor find the type, location, and cause of the stroke and rule out other disorders.

Other tests include:

Treatment

A stroke is a medical emergency. Immediate treatment can save lives and reduce disability. Call 911 or your local emergency number or seek urgent medical care at the first signs of a stroke. It is very important for people who are having stroke symptoms to get to a hospital as quickly as possible. If the stroke is caused by a blood clot, a clot-busting drug may be given to dissolve the clot. Most of the time, patients must reach a hospital within 3 hours after symptoms begin. Some people may be able to receive these drugs for up to 4 – 5 hours after symptoms begin. Treatment depends on how severe the stroke was and what caused it. Most people who have a stroke need to stay in a hospital.

TREATMENT IN THE HOSPITAL

Clot-busting drugs (thrombolytic therapy) may be used if the stroke is caused by a blood clot. This medicine breaks up blood clots and helps bring back blood flow to the damaged area. However, not everyone can get this type of medicine.

  • For these drugs to work a person must be seen and treatment must begin within 3 hours of when the symptoms first started. A CT scan must be done to see whether the stroke is from a clot or from bleeding.
  • If the stroke is caused by bleeding instead of clotting, clot-busting drugs (thrombolytics) can cause more bleeding.

Other treatments depend on the cause of the stroke:

  • Blood thinners such as heparin or warfarin (Coumadin) may be used to treat strokes due to blood clots. Aspirin or clopidogrel(Plavix) may also be used.
  • Other medicine may be needed to control symptoms such as high blood pressure.
  • In some situations, a special stroke team and skilled radiologists may be able to use angiography to highlight the clogged blood vessel and open it up.
  • If bleeding occurred, surgery is often needed to remove blood from around the brain and to fix damaged blood vessels.
  • Surgery on the carotid artery may be needed.

LONG-TERM TREATMENT

The goal of treatment after a stroke is to help the patient recover as much function as possible and prevent future strokes. The recovery time and need for long-term treatment is different for each person. Problems moving, thinking, and talking often improve in the weeks to months after a stroke. A number of people who have had a stroke will keep improving in the months or years after the stroke.

Complications

  • Breathing food into the airway (aspiration)
  • Dementia
  • Falls
  • Loss of mobility
  • Loss of movement or feeling in one or more parts of the body
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Poor nutrition
  • Pressure sores
  • Problems speaking and understanding
  • Problems thinking or focusing

Prevention

Risk Factors You Cannot Change

  • Your age. Risk of stroke increases with age.
  • Your gender. Men have a higher risk of getting heart disease than women except in older adults.
  • Your genes or race. If your parents had a stroke, you are at higher risk. African-Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, Hawaiians, and some Asian Americans also have a higher risk for heart problems.
  • Diseases such as cancer, chronic kidney disease, and some types of arthritis
  • Weak areas in an artery wall or abnormal arteries and veins
  • Pregnancy– both during and in the weeks right after the pregnancy

Blood clots from the heart may travel to the brain and cause a stroke. This may happen in people with man-made or infected heart valves or in certain heart defects you were born with. Other causes of blood clots are a very weak heart and some abnormal heartbeats.

Risk Factors You Can Change

You can change some risk factors for stroke, by taking the following steps:

  • Do not smoke. If you do smoke, quit.
  • Control your cholesterol through diet, exercise, and medicines, if needed.
  • Control high blood pressure through diet, exercise, and medicines, if needed.
  • Control diabetes through diet, exercise, and medicines, if needed.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Maintain a healthy weight by eating healthy foods, eating less, and joining a weight loss program, if needed.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink. This means 1 drink a day for women and 2 a day for men.
  • Avoid cocaine and other illegal drugs.
  • Talk to your doctor about the risk of birth control pills. Birth control pills can increase the chance of blood clots, which can lead to stroke. Clots are more likely in women who also smoke and who are older than 35.

Good nutrition is important to your heart health and will help control some of your stroke risk factors.

  • Choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Choose lean proteins, such as chicken, fish, beans and legumes.
  • Choose low-fat dairy products, such as 1% milk and other low-fat items.
  • Avoid sodium (salt) and fats found in fried foods, processed foods, and baked goods.
  • Eat fewer animal products and foods that contain cheese, cream, or eggs.

Read labels, and stay away from “saturated fat” and anything that contains “partially-hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” fats. These products are usually loaded with unhealthy fats. Your doctor may suggest taking aspirin or another drug called clopidogrel (Plavix) to help prevent blood clots from forming. DO NOT take aspirin without talking to your doctor first. If you are taking these drugs or other blood thinners, you should take steps to prevent yourself from falling or tripping.

NB: Follow these guidelines and the advice of your doctor to lower your chances of stroke.

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8 thoughts on “Top Diseases Affecting Women

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