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TO YOUR HEALTH - Women should make health a top priority

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 11:56 AM

Women often have to juggle so many responsibilities at home and work that they forget one important aspect that helps them perform their tasks better-maintaining their health.

As women, we worry about our children, spouse and our work responsibilities, but tend to put our health at the bottom of the priority list. But, it's also important that we take care of ourselves.

Did you know that in 2004 the five leading causes of death for women in the United States were heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases and Alzheimer's disease?

The following list shows symptoms that could be signs of serious health conditions, according to the National Women's Health Information Center. It is important to note that you might feel symptoms in one part of your body that could actually mean a problem in another part. Even if the symptoms don't seem related, they could be.

Keep track of symptoms. If you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see your primary care provider. Listen to what your body is telling you, and be sure to describe every symptom in detail to your provider.

Signs of a heart attack Some symptoms of a heart attack can happen a month or so before the heart attack. Before a heart attack, women may have had one or more of these symptoms: unusual tiredness, trouble sleeping, problems breathing, indigestion and anxiety.

During a heart attack, women may have one or more of these symptoms: pain or discomfort in the center of the chest, pain or discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach, other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness.

If you have any of these symptoms, go to an emergency room right away or call 911.

Signs of a stroke Signs of a stroke happen suddenly and are different from signs of a heart attack: sudden or developing problems with speaking or understanding, sudden or developing problems with sight, sudden or developing problems with balance, coordination, walking, and dizziness, sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms, or legs, sudden severe headache with no known cause.

If you have any of these symptoms, go to an emergency room right away or call 911.

Other health concerns Problems with the reproductive system, breasts and lungs are other issues for women.

Symptoms of reproductive health problems: bleeding or spotting between periods, itching, burning, or irritation (including bumps, blisters, or sores) of the vagina or genital area, pain or discomfort during sex, severe or painful bleeding with periods, moderate to severe pelvic pain and unusual (for you) vaginal discharge of any type or color or with strong odor.

Symptoms of breast problems: nipple discharge, unusual breast tenderness or pain, breast or nipple skin changes: ridges, dimpling, pitting, swelling, redness, or scaling, and lump or thickening in or near breast or in underarm area, or tenderness.

Symptoms of lung problems: coughing up blood, persistent cough that gets worse over time, repeated bouts of bronchitis or pneumonia, shortness of breath and wheezing.

Again, it's important to report any of these symptoms to your primary care provider. For more information on these and other health concerns, visit the second annual FTMC's Wellness for Women Morning of Screenings and Health Information from 7 to 11 a.m. Oct. 20, at FTMC Rehabilitation Center and Cancer Care Center, 272 Benedict Avenue, Norwalk.

Treat yourself on Sweetest Day. FTMC's Wellness for Women is providing a convenient "one-stop" morning of screenings and health information for women. You can choose from a menu of screenings and talk to a variety of FTMC specialists on numerous health topics. Fees will apply for many of the screenings. For more information and to register, call (419) 660-2828.

Amanda M. Cook is a certified adult nurse practitioner and specializes in women's health issues.

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