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Women’s Health Week: Australian Health Issues

September 9, 2019 0 Comments

Last week, Australian women joined in the Women’s Health Week, an annual event organised since 2013 educating women to prioritise better health and lifestyle. 

This year, it was held from 2 – 6 September 2019 and women across the nation participated in online health tips, videos, educational resources and information. There were also local and regional events to raise awareness for the health issues they may face.

Women’s Health has had strong improvements over the past years, according to the Australia’s Health 2018 report by the Australian Health and Welfare Institute. Initiatives like the Women’s Health Week are important to raise awareness  for extra attention to health concerns.

Australian Health Issues

Dementia and Alzheimer Disease

According to the same report, Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was the leading cause of death for female in 2016.

Leading causes of death in Australia

HealthDirect suggested that there are currently more than 400,000 people in Australia suffering from dementia. 55% of those are women. 

Women are at a slightly higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than men. And unfortunately, recent findings are similar to research and reports from last decade. An Access Economics report commissioned by Alzheimer’s Australia and published in March 2005, suggested that the number of people with dementia in Australia will be 25% higher by 2050 than what was originally predicted. 

According to The Alzheimer’s Australia Chief Executive Officer, it was disappointing that dementia was the leading cause of death in women in Australia and that the overall rates for dementia were increasing.

Not only do we need an ongoing commitment to find the best possible cure and treatments for it, we also need to continuously seek awareness and understanding about it across our communities and we need effective support networks in place to those affected. 

More women are impacted by dementia than men, but they are also the predominant workforce that provides formal and informal care to those patients. About two thirds of primary caregivers for people with dementia are women working  in hospitals, social care for communities and care homes. 

The UK’s Alzheimer Society and the Harvard Health Publishing both suggested reducing the risk of dementia by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Important factors are having a balanced diet, enough daily sleep and exercising both physically and mentally will help to fight against the risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Heart Diseases

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) combines a range of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. Coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure are among the serious types of CVD.

In Australia, CVD remains as a significant health problem for women, despite the decline of mortality and hospitalisation rates. According to the Cardiovascular disease in Australian women — a snapshot of national statistics report, more than half a million women in Australia had cardiovascular disease in the 2017-2018 period. In 2016, coronary heart disease (11%) and cerebrovascular diseases (such as strokes, 8%) were 2 of the top 3 leading specific causes of female deaths.

Prevalence of heart, stroke and vascular diseases among women, 2017-2018

The report also suggested that many chronic conditions share common risk factors that can be preventable. Examples may be tobacco use, high alcohol consumption, weight and obesity, physical inactivity and high blood pressure.

For Doctors in Australia, educating your patients on the above factors  can help to reduce the risks of developing CVD-related issues. Small lifestyle changes are also highly encouraged, such as having a healthy diet and being more active. 

Smoking

Lung ailments are also an important aspect of health issues faced by Australians. 

There are various risks and causes associated as The Cancer Council states, but it is estimated 65% of lung cases in women are a result of tobacco smoking.

The earlier you start smoking, the longer you keep smoking and the more cigarettes you consume then the higher the risk of developing serious lung ailments. Other factors that may increase the risks include: second-hand smoke, asbestos, workplace exposure to radon and occupational substances such as uranium and chromium, diesel fumes, an HIV infection and any prior family history. 

We have only covered the surface for areas where Doctors can greatly impact their patients’ lives with the right kind of education and support for better health. There are more. 

What are some of the ways to tackle these health issues you have found to be successful in your practice? Contact one of our friendly consultants Today and sign up for our newsletter to be kept up to date with medical information and facts and the weekly Hot Jobs for GP jobs in Australia. 

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