Even though this article is about the leading causes of death in women, it is not meant to bring doom and gloom. Rather, educate you so you can be prepared and take action. Among the many women I have talked to, all say the same thing. They want to put others first and themselves last. But remember, just like the flight attendant always says on a plane, put your mask on first before helping others because you can’t help anyone if your dead. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your loved ones.
Heart Disease: The #1 Killer
The number 1 killer is Heart Disease. I thought this was surprising as heart disease is often thought to be more common in men than women. But heart disease affects more women in the US than all other cancer combined. 1 in 3 women die from heart disease. So why is the rate so high? Because of the symptoms, they can be hard to detect as they appear like a lot of other things. Symptoms can include neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort, shortness of breath, pain in arm(s), nausea/vomiting, sweating, dizziness and unusual fatigue. If you experience any of these, take some aspirin and call 911.
Cancer: Lung and Breast Cancer
Cancer is the second highest killer of women. Breast cancer is usually thought of as the most common cancer but it is actually lung cancer with over 70,000 women dying each year. Breast cancer is second most common cancer and colon is third. The good news is prevention screening and good lifestyle habits are becoming more common and saving thousands of lives a year. Maybe one day, cancer will be at the bottom of the list!
The third killer is stroke. There are 795,000 strokes in male and female Americans each year, 60% of stroke death are in women. Time is of the essence if you start having these symptoms: sudden numbness or weakness, sudden confusion or trouble speaking, sudden blurred vision, sudden severe headache and sudden trouble walking or falling. Call 911 immediately upon symptoms-don’t wait to go to the ER as that can take too long.
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease
Chronic lower respiratory disease is the fourth leading cause and is responsible for about 5% of female deaths. This includes COPD, chronic bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. Smoking including second hand smoke play a big role in this cause of death. COPD kills more women than men. Quality of life is greatly sacrificed due to shortness of breath and inability to be active and participate in life’s events.
The fifth killer are accidents which include motor vehicle accidents, unintentional drug overdose and accidental falls. These are hard to prevent as they just happen out of nowhere but instead of living in fear I try to never leave a conversation angry, always tell your loved ones you love them and live life, not fear. These are mottos I live by. I hope you do too. Be well!