International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on the 8th of March. This global day commemorates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all over the world. It’s also a time to focus on issues concerning women, like the problem of gender-based violence, gender equality and women’s health issues. Bloom Financial Services and partner, Momentum Health4Me, discuss the 10 most common health concerns affecting women today that you should be aware of so you can make sure you have access to medical services, emergency care or chronic benefits should you ever need it.
10 Most Common Women’s Health Issues
1. Breast cancer
According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), breast cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting women in South Africa. It’s essential to conduct self-examinations to check for irregular lumps in your breast and to have a mammogram screening every two years from the age of 45 years.
2. Cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is the second most common form of cancer affecting women in the country. It can only be successfully treated during the early stages so it’s imperative that all women start having a regular pap smear screening every two to three years from the age of 21 until about 65 years.
In South Africa, HIV prevalence is four times greater amongst women than it is amongst men. It is estimated that more than 120,000 women in the age group 15-24 years become HIV positive each year. An early diagnosis will assist you in boosting your immune system and managing your treatment plan. Antiretroviral medication is provided in accordance with the Momentum CareCross Network prescribed HIV medication formulary on the Momentum Health4Me Gold Plan.
Diabetes is a chronic condition where your blood sugar levels become elevated due to impaired utilisation of insulin. Type II Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness, kidney disease, heart disease and stroke for women. Those women who are most at risk include those with a high BMI, poor diet and those with a family history of the disease. An annual blood-glucose test is used to test for Type II Diabetes.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone and, as a result, the bones become brittle. This makes one susceptible to bone breaks or fractures. While osteoporosis affects older people, women are far more at risk of developing the disease than men due to hormone changes after menopause when their oestrogen levels drop. In order to reduce your risk, it’s recommended to lead a healthy lifestyle by sticking to a varied diet and doing regular weight-bearing exercises.
6. Mental Health
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group estimates that approximately 17 million South Africans suffer from mental health problems. Women are particularly susceptible to developing depression or anxiety due to the natural hormonal fluctuations they experience. In addition, to which, many women experience a form of depression, known as postpartum depression, shortly after giving birth. Momentum Health4Me Gold health insurance will cover the cost of a visit to a specialist psychiatrist who can assist in treating those suffering from mental health issues. Bloom also has proactive counselling support services offered to members on a toll-free line.
7. Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is one of the leading causes of death after HIV/AIDS in South Africa with an estimated 210 South Africans dying from the disease every day. Women have a unique set of risk factors that can predispose them to CVD, like a heart or stroke. Some of these include taking hormone replacement therapy for menopause, gestational diabetes, and taking oral contraceptives. Keep healthy with an annual heart awareness assessment that is covered by the Momentum Health4Me Bronze, Silver and Gold health insurance plans.
8. Pregnancy Complications
The World Health Organisation estimates that about 830 women die from pregnancy or childbirth complications every day. Pre-existing conditions, like asthma or diabetes, can worsen during pregnancy, putting the mother and child’s life at risk. Sadly, many deaths could be prevented if expectant mothers were able to access basic family planning and healthcare facilities. Find out more about Bloom’s comprehensive Maternity Benefit.
9. Fertility Issues
Many women struggle to conceive naturally. In South Africa, it’s estimated that infertility affects 15-20% of the population. Women can undergo various types of infertility treatment, which includes taking medication, having surgery or reproductive assistance.
10. Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune disease is a condition whereby the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells in the body. The most common types of autoimmune disease affecting women include psoriasis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid conditions. The symptoms and severity of the disease do vary from patient to patient and treatment plans include taking chronic medication to manage the condition.
At Bloom Financial Services, we wish to take this opportunity to highlight some of the major health concerns affecting women in our country and throughout the world. Many of these diseases or conditions can be treated through effective treatment plans or by taking chronic medication. Make sure you’re covered for affordable health insurance by contacting our offices to speak to one of our medical insurance consultants.
Medical Content Disclaimer
You understand and acknowledge that all users of the Bloom Financial Services website are responsible for their own medical care, treatment, and oversight. All content provided on the website, is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Neither is it intended to be a substitute for an independent professional medical opinion, judgement, diagnosis or treatment.