There is no better time than now for women to step up and put their health first. We know it’s a tall order, women have been so conditioned to always put themselves last. But as we celebrate the 19th Annual National Women’s Health Week May 13 – 19, it is worth noting that although women are living longer lives, they are not living healthier lives. It’s time for that to change.
Women, on average, live five years longer than men, with a current life expectancy of 81.1 years. But sadly, those aren’t quality years. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reports women’s health in the U.S. is suffering from impaired mobility, hearing, vision and pain due to a growing number of years living with disabilities (YLD).
Leading causes of YLD in the United States for women
- Low back pain
- Other musculoskeletal disorders
- Major depressive disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Neck pain
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Age-related and other hearing loss
- Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
*Source: The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
Musculoskeletal conditions are pervasive and take a heavy toll on women as the most common cause of severe long-term pain and disability. Pain and reduced physical function seriously diminish a woman’s quality of life as she ages. Low back pain, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are at the top of the list. At Any Lab Test Now, the Osteoporosis Risk Panel, Arthritis Screening, and even Thyroid Panel, which can detect an imbalance that could make a woman more susceptible to osteoporosis, heart disease (No.1 killer), infertility and fatigue, can provide early flags that allow women to take control of their health instead of letting health conditions control them.
Anxiety is a normal response to stress and women have plenty of that. It’s no surprise women are more than twice as likely as men to get an anxiety disorder. However, researchers believe hormonal changes, genetics, and traumatic events play a role. Anxiety can also affect other health problems common in women, like depression, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pain, cardiovascular disease and asthma. Of course, severe anxiety can become debilitating. At Any Lab Test now, the Adrenal Stress Test measures the master stress hormone which can uncover hidden imbalances of key hormones tied to mental, emotional or physical energy. Getting enough sleep is a healthy habit that can keep cortisol (the “stress” hormone) and melatonin working in concert, so women can manage the stress of normal day-to-day activities. Melatonin levels are believed to decrease as we age, adding to the oxidative stress that contributes to disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. The Sleep Balance Kit, an easy take-home urine test from Any Lab Test Now, can detect imbalances of melatonin and cortisol and results can be used to develop treatments or lifestyle changes to improve the sleep/wake cycle for optimal health and wellness.
In the last 30 years, YLD from diabetes alone increased by more than 112 percent in women, making it not only a leading cause of death but also a leading cause of disability for women. At Any Lab Test Now, six different diabetes lab tests are available, including, the Diabetes Maintenance Panel and the Insulin Lab Test, which is especially crucial for women at risk for type 2 diabetes or who have already developed symptoms associated with prediabetes or metabolic syndrome including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess weight and/or higher than normal glucose levels.
Any Lab Test Now joins the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health and encourages women to make their health a priority and start building positive health habits today by doing these six things:
- Get regular well-woman checkups
- Start preventive screenings, available at Any Lab Test Now location
- Get active
- Eat healthy
- Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress
- Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet
What steps will you take towards better health?