Academic researchers are working to better understand the differences in men’s and women’s health needs. Though both sexes face many of the same chronic health conditions, women deal with additional challenges that often need to be addressed. Your predisposition to develop certain medical complications is often influenced by your biological makeup.

While we have highlighted some of the most common women’s healthcare issues in previous blogs, we also want to talk about the major risk factors driving them. Our 219 Health Network team of family medicine practitioners in East Chicago and Highland, Indiana explain below.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the US, claiming the lives of 21.8 percent of all American women, regardless of race or origin. It also is a leading cause of premature death and disability. Though men are more likely to die from heart disease, it is often misdiagnosed in women. Most doctors overlook the signs because women exhibit them differently than males. As a result, when the condition is ultimately diagnosed, it is often too late to help.

Chest pain is a tell-tale sign of heart disease. Chronic jaw pain, nausea and vomiting, shoulder pain and difficult or labored breathing are other common symptoms. As soon as you notice any of these symptoms, it is strongly recommended that you visit a specialist in family medicine in East Chicago or Highland, Indiana.

The risk of developing heart disease increases dramatically after menopause. Other risk factors include a family history of heart disease, low estrogen levels, high cholesterol levels, obesity, smoking, high blood glucose from diabetes, high blood pressure and sedentary behavior/physical inactivity.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women, second only to heart disease as well as the most common type of cancer in American women. The average American woman has a 13 percent chance of developing breast cancer at some point in her life.

There is widespread fear about the disease, and for good reason. Thankfully, there are also many treatment options available. In addition to visiting their family medicine provider in East Chicago or Highland, Indiana regularly, women should educate themselves on the subject and perform self-examinations every month. An annual mammogram also is recommended for women over 40.

Older women, women with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, a family history of the disease, an abnormal biopsy, excessive alcohol use, early menstruation and early menopause are at high risk of developing breast cancer.


Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones thin and weaken, rendering them more susceptible to fractures. The condition affects more than 44 million Americans, with women accounting for 68 percent of those afflicted.

However, there are several steps that women can take to prevent osteoporosis. For example, women should create healthy habits during their younger years to maintain bone strength. This is because bone mass stops increasing sometime around age 30. In addition to getting enough calcium through your diet, your family medicine doctor in East Chicago, Indiana may also recommend engaging in weight-bearing aerobic activities to keep your bones healthy.

Caucasian or Asian women, women postmenopausal, women with a small frame, a low body mass index (BMI), a family history of the disease and with calcium and vitamin D deficiency; women who smoke and consume too much alcohol and women suffering from anorexia are at risk of developing osteoporosis.

Looking for a Family Medicine Provider in East Chicago or Highland, Indiana?

Are you currently facing any women’s healthcare concerns? If so, and if you are looking for an affordable family medicine doctor in East Chicago, Indiana, 219 Health Network is here to help. Our network of family medicine providers includes Matthew Libiran, MD, Saundra Clark, NP, Lisa Richardson, MD, Fadia Haddadin, MD, and Gagandeep Kaur, MD. Call us today at 219-398-9265 or send us a form through our contact page to get in touch with our staff.

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