Celebrate Women’s Healthcare Month

May is a great month to celebrate women. While powerful and compassionate, women sometimes forget to make time for themselves, or they may think of themselves last. So, women, commit to taking better care of yourself this month -- including your mental and physical health. Not only do you deserve it, but the unfortunate reality is that there are conditions women are at higher risk of developing, such as:

Alzheimer's -- Of the 6 million people in the United States with Alzheimer's, 4 million are women. While researchers aren't sure why there's such a disparity, it's believed that more women suffer from the disease because they tend to live longer than men. And as we all know, Alzheimer's is usually associated with aging.

Anxiety -- Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with general anxiety, panic, obsessive-compulsive and post-traumatic stress disorders. It is believed that differences in women's brain chemistry and hormones can cause these issues, especially during times of flux, such as pregnancy and menopause.

Autoimmune diseases -- Of those battling conditions like lupus, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, 80% are women. In fact, autoimmune diseases are one of the leading causes of death and disability in women ages 65 and younger. Though autoimmune diseases tend to run in families, women are thought to be more susceptible because of higher fluctuating hormone levels.

Migraines -- Experts believe that electrical activity starts in the brain's vision center, explaining why nearly 30% of migraine sufferers experience "auras" (e.g., jagged lines, sparkling lights, blind spots). Though migraines are hereditary and can be triggered by one's environment, such as sounds, light, smells and food allergies, women are three times more likely than men to develop these headaches due to estrogen fluctuations during menstruation, pregnancy, menopause and after giving birth.

Stroke -- The CDC reports that strokes are the fifth leading cause of death for women, and one in five American women between 55 and 75 will have a stroke. Since stroke risk increases with age, and women typically live longer than men, more women have strokes in their lifetimes. Women also are at higher risk due to having high blood pressure during pregnancy, taking birth control medicines, smoking, and having higher rates of depression.

To learn about stroke care at Northwest Health, visit NorthwestHealth.com/stroke-care for more information.

So, what can you do to prevent these conditions? Though they don't seem to have a lot of commonalities, you can decrease your risk of developing these problems with the same approaches:

Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats.

Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.

Manage your stress, as it contributes to disease.

Monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Quit smoking and reduce alcohol consumption.

Regularly see your doctor for checkups.

Exercise your body and mind regularly.

Visit https://bit.ly/Womens-Screenings for a women's screening checklist. If you're looking for a provider, visit NW-Physicians.com to find one near you. Same-day appointments are often available.

About Siloam Springs Regional Hospital

Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is a licensed 73-bed facility with 42 private patient rooms. It is accredited by the State of Arkansas Department of Health Services and The Joint Commission. Some services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, emergency medicine, medical, surgical and intensive care units, obstetrics, outpatient diagnostic services and inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. With more than 50 physicians on the medical staff, Siloam Springs Regional Hospital provides compassionate, customer-focused care. SSRH is an affiliate of Northwest Health, the largest health system in Northwest Arkansas. Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is located at 603 N. Progress Ave. in Siloam Springs. For more information, visit NorthwestHealth.com.