In Health Matters, Women Are Sometimes the Unfairer Sex

By Martha Michael

Women and Health

There are times when women want to edge out the men, or at least stay in the game. But in the case of health and wellness odds, “Year of the Woman” isn’t really synonymous with victory. In a lot of ways, when it comes to health, being a woman is the unfairer sex.

Arthritis

Osteoarthritis, otherwise known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis and appears to be more prevalent in women than men, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The leading cause of disability for Americans, it’s a degenerative disease, causing symptoms such as joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.

While 54.4 million Americans suffer from a form of arthritis, it’s estimated that 78 million, or 26 percent of Americans, will receive a diagnosis of arthritis by the year 2040, says the CDC.

A CDC report claims that women have a 23 percent incidence of arthritis, while just 18.1 percent of men are diagnosed with the condition. Rates for women aren’t the only ones with higher rates of arthritis -- also included are adults who are unable to work, with fair/poor health, or those suffering from obesity, heart disease, or diabetes, in part because they have a lower level of activity.

A study from 2013-15 found that 43.5 percent of adults diagnosed with arthritis have attributable activity limitations.

Prevention/Treatment

Staying active is a major goal for individuals hoping to offset the pain and debilitating symptoms of arthritis. It’s essential for both men and women to seek alternatives to lapsing into a sedentary lifestyle because higher levels of activity suggest that arthritis conditions can improve.

As the American population ages, casualties are likely to grow.

“Active promotion of evidence-based self-management education and physical activity interventions is appropriate for various chronic conditions,” the CDC says.

Regular chiropractic adjustments provide active motion to restricted spinal joints that may assist in slowing the degenerative process.

Urinary Tract Infections

Many women are plagued by chronic urinary tract infections, or UTIs, and they suffer from them in greater numbers than men, the National Institutes of Health says.

Typically caused by a microbial infection, some UTIs are produced by fungi or viruses, according to an article in Healthline. The infection may be in the ureter, bladder, urethra or kidneys, though most of them occur in the lower region, involving just the urethra and bladder.

A UTI in the lower tract may include symptoms such as:

  • Increased need to urinate
  • Cloudy urine
  • Blood in urine
  • Burning when urinating
  • Pelvic pain for women
  • Rectal pain for men

There’s a greater chance the infection will spread to the upper region, including the kidneys, when symptoms are ignored. Left untreated, bacteria can get into the bloodstream, which is called urosepsis, and the patient may experience low blood pressure, shock, or it can be fatal.

Seek immediate help if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Pain in your back and sides

Prevention/Treatment

If you’re maintaining regular visits to your chiropractor, you have a better chance of catching a health problem before it advances to a more dangerous stage. Addressing periods of pain and symptoms as they arise can bring attention to potentially harmful developments.

Drink lots of fluids, primarily water, so bacteria is diluted and flushed out during urination. Call your chiropractor for a consultation. If you wait to see if your pain will go away, you’re taking a chance of developing a more severe condition..

Stroke

For men, strokes are the fifth-leading cause of death, but for women it’s the third most fatal disease.

According to the National Stroke Association, more than 55,000 women die every year due to strokes, but even more alarming is the fact that those who survive have a lower quality of life than their male counterparts. That’s true, in part, because women live longer and, therefore, they are more likely to live alone or end up in a long-term care facility.

An article on the National Institutes of Health website discusses various diseases and conditions that affect women differently than they affect men. Both genders are on the same page when it comes to the risk factors for stroke: high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol or prevalence of strokes in your family history.

However, there are other factors that can increase the possibility of stroke, particularly for women:

  • Pregnancy
  • Birth control pills
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Frequent migraine headaches
  • Large waist size, greater than 35.2 inches

Prevention/Treatment

Patients with regular chiropractic care have an advantage over individuals who don’t have a baseline health record. The patient’s history -- including use of medication, physical trauma and body system irregularities -- will provide a backdrop for the chiropractor’s evaluation and subsequent advisement.

In the case of a potential stroke victim, an exam may involve asking the patient to repeat simple actions, raise both arms, stand in balance with closed eyes, speak simple sentences, and stick out his/her tongue. An astute chiropractor will note a change in health, such as newly acquired neck pain or an unrelenting headache.

Aspects like your age and gender aren’t within your control. But your lifestyle choices and safeguarding your health with regular chiropractic care can improve your odds.

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