Health and Fitness

Women are so busy taking care of others in their lives that they often neglect their own healthcare. From childhood to seniors, women have distinct health needs.

The Iowa Department of Public Health is the state's primary state agency that advocates and educates Iowans about health topics. Additionally, its Office of Women's Health has compiled an inventory of IDPH programs that address the unique health care needs of women. The United States Department of Health & Human Services also has many resources. Additionally, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation has information specifically about women.

While women and men share many of the same health concerns, women have discrete concerns: breast cancer, osteoporosis, heart health, stroke, and reproductive health care.

  • Breast Cancer: In 2007, about 2,100 women in Iowa found out they have breast cancer, and about 410 died from it. Only lung cancer causes more cancer deaths among Iowa women than breast cancer. See the Understanding Cancer Guide for a guide to recognizing symptoms and understanding cancer.
  • Osteoporosis: In association with the National Associations of Commissions for Women, the ICSW is implementing Healthy Bones to educate women about the importance of bone health.
  • Heart health: Women are just as likely as men to have heart disease and experience heart attacks. Heart disease is not only one of the leading causes of death for Iowa women, it is also one of the leading causes of disability.
  • Stroke: According to The University of Iowa Health Care, two women die of stroke for every woman who dies of breast cancer. Make sure you know how to recognize stroke symptoms.
  • Reproductive healthcare: From a girl's first period to sexually transmitted diseases in seniors, women of all ages need information on the myriad of reproductive health issues.

Going to a healthcare provider can be stressful enough; however, add in the medical terminology, a perhaps scary diagnosis, and the short time frame allowed for your appointment, and it makes for a frustrating time. About eighty percent of a healthcare provider's diagnosis is based on what patients report about their symptoms. With a little preparation before hand, a visit can go a lot more smoothly.

Additional resources: