Hello and welcome to the Blue Door Neighborhood Center. My name is Aquea Wynn and I serve as health educator here. Thank you so much for joining us for such an important health education segment - discussing women's health.
Today, we will share some health conditions that impact and affect women currently. Lastly, we will share best practices and tips to support women in helping to improve our health. Be sure to check out the final slide with the list of references from various credible resources.
Women. We are the heartbeats of our families, communities, and our world. So much so that we're often referred to and stereotyped into some of the following gender roles: nurturers, cooks, housekeepers, caregivers, teachers, nurses, administrators, and sometimes being too emotional. That was a lot right there. Therefore, it's no surprise that we as women spend so much time, day in and day out, caring for others that we rarely take time to care for ourselves and our health. So today, we hope to encourage you and to inform you and empower you that now is an okay time to focus on improving your health.
Women's health at a glance can be categorized into three main areas of focus, the first being health and wellness. That includes obesity, stress, and mental health. The second being disease and conditions. That includes heart disease, breast cancer, and cervical cancer. And lastly, there's reproductive health. That includes pregnant, menopause, and sexual health.
Did you know that heart disease is the number one and leading cause of death of women here in the United States? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, nearly 300,000 women passed away from heart disease. That's about 1 in 5 women. Sometimes heart disease has been considered a man's disease, but nearly as many women are passing away from heart disease as men each year. Over the past decades, there's been an increase in the awareness of heart disease in women. However, only 56% of women still acknowledge and recognize heart disease to be the number 1 cause of death.
Fact number 2: more than 2 in 3 women in the United States are obese. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Department of Health and Human Services for Women's Health, obesity is a serious health condition of women. Obesity can develop when the body stores more calories than it uses over time. That extra weight can lead to serious health problems for women, such as heart disease, diabetes, many types of cancers, breathing problems, complications getting pregnant, and challenges during pregnancy.
Fact number 3: 1 in 5 women in the United States has experienced a mental health condition in the past year, such as depression or anxiety. Good mental health is essential for our total well-being as women. And many mental health conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder affect more women than men or affect women in different ways than men. Most serious mental health conditions cannot be cured but that can be treated and you can live better and well with treatment. Stress happens to be one of those major factors that influences women's depression and anxiety. In the short term, we know that stress can, you know, make you alert or give you an extra boost of energy. However, in the long term, stress can lead to serious health complication for women. Most notably, those can be headaches or upset stomach. And they can also, again, lead to depression, anxiety, heart problems, obesity, menstrual cycle issues and a decreased sex drive.
Next fact is breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women here in the United States. More often, black women tend to pass away from breast cancer at a higher rate than white women. Factors such as not being physically active, having obesity, and having a family history are all increased risks for breast cancer. In addition, cervical cancer is another health concern for women. It happens to be the fourth most common cancer for women worldwide. It's also the leading cause of cancer-related deaths here among women. Be sure that you are up-to-date with both your primary care and your OBGYN visits to schedule the appropriate screening tests and the human papilloma vaccine to help prevent cervical cancer. It is important to know that cervical cancer is a preventable and curable disease if it is detected early and managed effectively.
Last fact about women's health: women often tend to have more serious health challenges from sexually transmitted infections, including infertility. The Centers for Disease Control reports that over 9 million women in the United States are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection each year. Sexually transmitted infections are obtained and spread through unprotected vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
Let's talk prevention. Regular health exams and tests can find problems before they start. They can also find problems early when your chances for treatment are better. As a woman, we need special exams and screenings and during our checkups. Our health providers can help us, guide us, in the right direction. That may be our primary care physicians, our OBGYN physicians and don't forget, our annual mammograms. Self-exams are important as well. That includes skin, oral and breast self-checks. Managing mood and stress is also an important prevention for we as women. Everyone has to deal with stress at some point in their life. We can definitely do thinks to take steps to address our stress levels in a positive way.
Eating smart is the secret to good health. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and a variety of balanced foods from each food group can help. Exercise daily and get moving - that's the other secret to good health. Just 30 minutes of physical activity each day accumulated over time can help you to become in good shape and help you to look good, feel good and be more productive mentally.
Try not to deal with stress in unhealthy ways. This includes drinking too much alcohol, using drugs, smoking or overeating. These coping mechanisms may help you feel better in the moment but can add to your stress levels in the long term. Try substituting healthy ways to copy by spending time with family and friends, exercising or finding a new hobby. Also, some things like taking deep breaths, meditating, writing down your thoughts, getting organized, volunteering and helping others and getting help from a professional if you need it.
When it comes to safer sex practices, we want to remind you to play it safe by knowing your sexual partners and using latex or polyurethane condoms every time you have a sexual encounter for vaginal, anal and oral sex to reduce your risks for contracting sexually transmitted infections.
Let's talk more prevention. Getting proper sleep. Be consistent and go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Make sure that your bedtime is quiet, dark and set at a comfortable temperature. Limiting and turning off your electronic devices before bedtime is key. And if you're anything like me, I love me some good sleep.
Practice more self-care. That is, taking time for you doing what you love to do - unwinding and finding activities that make you happy. If you are pregnant, seek prenatal care as soon as possible to assess the health of you and your unborn baby. And if you are uninsured, be sure to come to the Blue Door Neighborhood Center as we can point you in the right direction for health care navigation.
So ladies, do you want to live longer, live better and live happier? Well, the Blue Door Neighborhood Center has your back. We offer an array of health and wellness classes to help you on your health journey. We offer classes such as yoga, Zumba and line dancing to help you increase your physical activity. We offer health education classes such as nutrition education, ways to cope with stress and other women's health topics. And then last but not least, we offer chronic disease prevention and management classes to address some of those conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
In closing, I leave you with wisdom on women's health. From former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, "Communities and countries and ultimately the world are only as strong as the health of their women." So again, I encourage everyone watching this today that now is an okay time for you to take time to focus on improving your health.
Thank you and stay connected with us. Visit our website, www.bluedoorcenteril.com, for more information and to register for our classes, programs and events. Don't forget, we're also on Facebook. Follow us at Blue Door Center IL. Thank you so much and have a great day everyone.