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02-10-2018
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Top 5 silent killers in women!

Women's health awareness
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Common disease in women

Silent killers are often the ones that disguise their symptoms. They are characterized by vague and subtle symptoms that are often ignored or worse, undiagnosed! These diseases strike more than ten million women each year and more than a hundred thousand women fall prey to them! Given below are the top 5 silent killers in women. There are very few warning symptoms and are diagnosed at a very late stage, leaving no scope for treatment and recovery.

Heart Diseases

Heart Diseases were traditionally thought to be exclusively Men's Diseases. In today's scenario, things have changed drastically. Heart problems are not exclusive to men anymore. With around three million women who succumb to heart-related complications every year, one needs to understand the gravity of the situation and take action. Lack of knowledge about heart diseases and neglecting one’s health in view of other important things like family, career etc has been cited as a major cause for heart disease-related deaths in Indian women.

Heart Diseases: Clinical Presentation

The clinical presentation of heart diseases is not typical in women. The characteristic chest pain with cold sweating, which is the hallmark of heart attacks, is not always seen in women. Women present with less common symptoms like nausea and vomiting, heartburn, dizziness, etc which are often neglected as something trivial. Late diagnosis and late presentation to the hospital also lead to high mortalities. 

Heart Diseases: Causative Factors

The fast-paced lifestyle that is the trend today only adds to the problems. Changing lifestyle pattern is seeing more and more women taking up smoking, making them more prone to HEART DISEASES than before. Stress, sedentary lifestyle, and obesity all form a vicious circle that adds to the risk factors. Menopause and the associated low estrogen levels also are responsible for the development of heart diseases in women. Simple measures taken at the right time go a long way in solving a lot of problems. Eating right, exercising regularly, going for regular health check-ups, meditating, and quitting smoking are some of the simple preventive measures that every woman should undertake.  

Uterine cancer

Uterine cancer develops in the endometrial lining of the uterus. Menstrual abnormalities are the hallmark of this disease. Since every woman suffers from some form of menstrual irregularity at least once in her lifetime, ignoring the symptoms is routine. Awareness about uterine CANCER needs to be promoted. Simple diagnostic procedures like the Pap smear test can help detect the disease early when it can be prevented. Unfortunately, the sad state now is that most women visit their primary physicians themselves at a very late stage where very little or almost nothing can be done.

Uterine cancer symptoms

Keep a check on the following symptoms and visit your gynecologist if you find something amiss:

  1. Abnormal smell or color of the vaginal discharge
  2. Huge clots along with menstrual blood
  3. Excessive bleeding
  4. Frequent menses or mid-cycle bleeding or spotting.
  5. Painful intercourse
  6. Deepened voice or increase in FACIAL HAIR
  7. Unexplained weight gain or WEIGHT LOSS.
  8. A regular health check is extremely essential too.

Ovarian cancer

This is the deadliest silent killer. The symptoms are usually seen when the disease has already spread on to other organs. Ovarian cancer presents as:

  1. A constant bloated feeling
  2. Fullness in the abdomen
  3. Pelvic pain
  4. Difficulty in eating

Ovarian cancer kills thousands of women each year. Newer research is helping in earlier detection. Early detection by means of blood tests and ultrasonography shows a 5-year survival rate in over 93% women.  

HPV infection

HPV or Human Papilloma Virus is one of the deadliest viruses around. This virus, especially the HPV16 and HPV18 subtype, is responsible for thousands of women the world over dying of cervical cancer. Sexual Intercourse, especially with multiple partners and early onset of sexual activity are the main reasons for the virus entering the cervix. HPV infection if left untreated or if recurrent leads to the development of cancerous changes in the cells of the cervix. What is tricky here is that more than 90% of the cases of HPV infections show natural resolution. The cases that go on to become full-blown cervical cancer show no warning signs at all and when the symptoms appear, the disease is in the final stage. It is very vital, therefore, that all sexually active women undergo periodic check-ups for early detection and treatment. Recent medical advances have made available two vaccines for HPV prevention.  

Hepatitis

Hepatitis finds a surprising and shocking place on the list of silent killers in women. Hepatitis is caused by viruses like the Hepatitis Virus A, B, C and E. Too much alcoholism too is one of the causes of hepatitis. Some types of hepatitis such as Hepatitis B are of a chronic nature. They remain symptomless for as many as twenty years, with the person being a perfectly healthy carrier. Others like Hepatitis A and E are of an acute nature, but if severe, can be the cause of permanent liver damage and liver cancer in later stages of life. Hepatitis A, E and B have vaccines that help prevent them. 

Hepatitis symptoms

The small insignificant symptoms of hepatitis are the ones that make it a silent killer. Minor symptoms like fatigue, low grade fever, vomiting, diarrhea, which we tend to ignore or worsen with self-treatment with over-the-counter drugs are often a warning sign of underlying liver pathology. A simple blood test done at the right time can avert many dangers!


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