All the Ways We Care: At My Hometown Hospital We’re Helping Women Take Charge of Their Health

At Hometown Hospital, we understand that women face a unique set
of health challenges that are different than men. That’s the reason we provide a comprehensive range of services for women’s health issues. Let’s
take a closer look at specific areas of the body, and some of the most common medical problems that affect women.

Brain

Alzheimer’s
Almost 2/3 of the five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s are women. The lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s after age 65 is one in five. Women in their 60s are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than they are to develop breast cancer.

What You Can Do
There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s, but recent research has shown that getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy diet, and getting at least 30 minutes of moderately vigorous exercise three or four times a week may help prevent the disease.

Heart

Heart Disease
If you believe cancer is the single leading cause of death in the U.S., think again. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women over 25, claiming the lives of more women than all forms of cancer combined. One in five women will die of a heart attack or stroke. Yet a recent study found that 75% of heart disease in women could be prevented with better lifestyle choices.

What You Can Do
To lower your risk of heart disease, don’t smoke, exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet. Have your blood pressure checked at least once every two years, but more frequently if you have high blood pressure.

Lungs

Lung Cancer
Lung cancer kills more women than any other type of cancer and more than breast, uterine and ovarian cancer combined. Although smoking is the #1 cause of lung cancer, 20% of women who develop the disease have never smoked.

COPD
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a common lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. More than seven million American women suffer from COPD. Many more are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with asthma. Symptoms include a cough, mucus production and wheezing.

What You Can Do
To prevent both COPD and lung cancer, the #1 thing you can do is STOP SMOKING.

Bones

Osteoporosis
With osteoporosis, the bones become weaker and more fragile. There are no symptoms. If left untreated, even a minor fall can result in a fracture of the hip, spine, wrist or other bones. Of the 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, 80 percent are women.

What You Can Do
Ask your provider about a bone density test, which is the only way osteoporosis can be detected. The test is recommended at least once for all women ages 65 and older and for postmenopausal women younger than 65 who have risk factors.

Digestion

Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic illness that can cause a number of serious health complications, including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and amputation.

What You Can Do
Talk with your provider and ask if you need to be tested and what risk factors need to be considered. For those without symptoms, begin testing at age 45 and at least every three years thereafter. For adults obese or overweight, begin testing sooner. Talk to your provider about your risks.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS is a super sensitivity to irritants such as intestinal gas. Women are two to six times more likely to have Irritable Bowel Syndrome than men. Bloating and abdominal pain are some of the symptoms.

What You Can Do
Although there is no known cure for IBS, lifestyle changes can relieve the symptoms. Talk to your provider.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Women are twice as likely as men to have Inflammatory Bowel Disease, (IBD) which includes Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. Diarrhea, weight loss, anemia and blood in the stool are among the symptoms.

What You Can Do
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, ask your provider. Diagnosing IBD often requires a colonoscopy, which is also the primary diagnostic tool for colon cancer.

Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the U.S. Starting at age 50, every woman should have a colonoscopy every 10 years or a flexible sigmoidoscopy or other screening test every five years.

What You Can Do
If you have a family history of colon cancer, be sure to talk to your provider. You may need screening at an earlier age and more often.

Reproduction

Endometriosis
Endometriosis occurs when the inside of a woman’s uterus grows on the outside instead. It can be painful and can cause fertility issues. Women who are having trouble conceiving are six to eight times more likely to have endometriosis than those who aren’t.

What You Can Do
A simple Pap test can detect endometriosis. Talk to your provider about if and when you need to have a Pap test.

Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is the most common type of the gynecological cancers (the others are ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulva). It is also the easiest to detect. The main cause of is HPV (Human Papillomavirus).

What You Can Do
A simple Pap test can detect the early signs of cervical cancer. If you are between 21 and 65, talk to your provider about when you need to have a Pap test and/or an HPV test.

And More

Urinary Tract Infections
More than 50 percent of women will develop a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) during their lifetime. Women are also eight times more likely to have a UTI than men.

What You Can Do
Drink plenty of water and other fluids, especially cranberry juice.

Chronic Kidney Disease
Diabetes and chronic high blood pressure are two of the main causes of kidney disease, a gradual loss of kidney function and its ability to filter out waste and excess water from the body.

What You Can Do
It comes down to living a healthy lifestyle. Don’t smoke. Use alcohol moderately. Eat a low-fat, low-salt diet and exercise at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.

Sources: American Alzheimer’s Association, Cleveland Clinic, University of Utah Health, American Lung Association, The Center for Endometriosis Care, American Cancer Society, Davita Kidney Care, American College of Gastroenterology, Kidney Fund