Morning Rounds: Women’s Health Week

Norfolk, VA - News 3 This Morning's medical expert Dr. Ryan Light is breaking down the top five health issues women need to be asking their doctors about during checkups.

"Number one is heart disease," said Dr. Light with Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group of Greenbrier.  "It is the leading cause of death in females.  Heart disease is one of those things that is easily preventable with making sure you maintain your blood pressure and checking cholesterol, as well as getting physical activity."

Dr. Light further broke down the top health issues for women:

  1. Heart disease:  Heart disease is the most common cause of death in women. Women should ask their primary care physician to look for risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. If you have these risk factors, you should talk to your doctor about treatment options to reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
  2. Cancer screening:  Women should talk with their doctor about routine screening for breast, cervical, and colon cancer. Getting mammograms, Pap smears, and colonoscopies as recommended can help you and your doctors find cancer early, which may help make it easier to treat. You can also review your family history with your doctor to determine your cancer risk.
  3. Mental health: 1 in 5 women in the US deals with a mental health issue. Women are more likely than men to experience depression and anxiety. Women should talk to their doctors about their mental health and can be screened for depression at their annual well-woman visits.
  4. Osteoporosis: Women, especially women older than 65, have a high risk for developing osteoporosis. People with osteoporosis have weak bones which are prone to fractures. If you are a woman over 65, consider asking your doctor to do a bone density test to see if you have osteoporosis. If you are a young woman, ask your doctor about ways to keep your bones healthy.
  5. Obesity: If you are overweight or obese, you should ask your doctor to check for diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. In some cases, you and your doctor may want to look for other health conditions that may contribute to obesity, such as hypothyroidism or polycystic ovarian syndrome. Your doctor can also give you information about how to eat a healthy diet and increase physical activity, which can help you lose weight.