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From the industrialization and the new forms of production, the degradation of the ecosystem is a reality more and more evident. The toxicity of the environment isnot only leaving remarkable marks in the natural places and the fauna, but directly in the own human health. This contamination, caused by the production and constant exposure to chemical agents , puts our vulnerability to the test.
In 1962, Rachel Carson already warned with her work “Silent Spring” the effects of this situation on people. And it is estimated that approximately 80,000 chemical substances have been introduced into daily life, of which between 4,000 and 8,000 can be highly harmful.
All these are introduced into the human body by such simple ways as air, through microparticles that are suspended and we end up breathing, water, or food (by pesticides or other chemical products), so it is practically impossible to escape from they. In addition, another important factor to take into account, and that has gone unnoticed until recently, is the risk posed by exposure to radiation (either by antennas, mobile phones, computers …).
But does this toxicity affect everyone equally?
According to numerous studies, pollution is not equal . In fact, factors such as sex or age are decisive in the consequences that a person can suffer. The writer and endocrinologist, Carme Valls LLobret, explains in her book “Health and Environment” that women , due to the very condition of their body, suffer from this contamination to a greater extent .
What is clear is that the action of the human being puts into ‘check’ his own health. The polluting activities of the last years are the main causes of the diseases of this new century. And although it can not be stopped, it is possible to work to achieve and adopt prevention policies that follow a more respectful line with the environment and, ultimately, with any way of life.
In this way, it is useful to know the biological differences between women and men to understand why certain diseases (caused by external or internal factors) affect more one sex or another.
Leaving aside the physical evidence, one of the main distinctions is associated with the composition of chromosomes , by which men (of XY chromosomes) are more prone to contract genetic disorders, than women (with chromosomes XX). The hormonal differences also represent an important point, because the woman synthesizes a greater amount of estrogen, causing a greater storage of fats. In addition, the changes that women experience during menstrual cycles also greatly influence their vulnerability, even affecting areas such as the brain , which becomes more sensitive to the exposure of certain chemicals.
Many diseases affect both men and women. However, as has been explained, some of them have a higher incidence in female patients. We show you the five most common in the following gallery.
Osteoporosis is a disease that is characterized by the progressive loss of the mass that makes up the bones and therefore, reduces the quality and strength of these and increases the risk of fractures.
It is more common in women, mainly for two reasons: on the one hand, women accumulate a lower bone density than men, so it is easier for them to reach frailty. On the other hand, after menopause, the rate of bone mineral loss accelerates.
According to the latest report presented by the Spanish Medical Association, osteoporosis is the most frequent bone metabolic disease in Western countries. It is estimated that currently more than three million Spaniards suffer. In fact, it has been cataloged as the ” silent epidemic of the 21st century “.
The prevalence of the disease increases progressively with age. For example, in Pakistan, 35% of women older than 50 suffer from it , while the percentage of incidence in men with the same age barely reaches 8%. Despite the high rates, less than 30% of patients with osteoporosis have received a diagnosis and less than 10% are treated.
Treatment and prevention of osteoporosis
Currently, the most frequent treatments for their control and prevention are antiresorptive , because of their ability to reduce the risk of bone fractures. Bone mass reconstructive drugs such as bisphosphonates have also been implanted and, even more, the introduction of new hormonal therapies is being investigated.
But in the day to day there are also good practices to prevent the symptoms of osteoporosis. Among these, it is recommended to include calcium and vitamin D in the diet, exercise and sports frequently, and avoid the use of tobacco and alcohol.
2. Urinary infections
Urinary tract infections are other of the most frequent diseases developed in women. These can occur at different points of the urinary tract, from the bladder, to kidneys, ureters and urethra. It is estimated that up to 50% of women can have an infection of this type throughout their lives . The most frequent are those caused by bacteria that enter the bladder and that, if not treated, could spread to the kidneys.
The urinary tract infection can be due to simple aspects such as poor hygiene, consequences of diseases (such as diabetes or cancer), even the use of tampons and compresses. These traditional hygiene products are in contact (or sometimes introduced) in the vaginal area, so they can be subject to bacterial growth.
One of the syndromes derived from this type of infections is the so-called Toxic Shock Syndrome . Although it is very rare, its effects can be especially serious. It is caused by bacteria of the family Staphilococcus, which release their toxins to the circulatory system causing numerous symptoms: headaches, fever, vomiting, renal and cardiac involvement … and death, inoso. This disease has been related in many occasions to the prolonged and abusive use of products for intimate hygiene , such as tampons. However, less than half of the cases are associated with these . In fact, toxic shock can develop for many other reasons, such as skin trauma or injury.
Treatment and prevention of urinary infections
There are different ways to prevent and treat a urinary infection. A main thing is to be aware of the importance of intimate hygiene to avoid developing any linked pathology. Some experts agree on the idea of replacing pads and tampons with menstrual cups to prevent these diseases, since they do not affect the bacterial flora or vaginal pH, they decrease infections and they do not dry out the vaginal walls.
In addition, eating a healthy diet will also help keep our bladder healthy and prevent infections. Foods rich in vitamin C favor bacterial reduction and purify our body.
It is a very frequent cardiovascular disease, especially after 40 years. The blood vessels are exposed to a constant or sustained pressure, in which they end up damaging themselves.
A study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (in North Carolina) revealed that women are 40% more likely to develop vascular problems . This is due to different factors such as, for example, menopause, since, after this, the blood pressure values increase due to an alteration in the hormonal balance.
At the national level, the National Institute of Statistics warns that this type of pathologies occupy the first place in the causes of death in Pakistan.
Collapse of the arteries
The hypertension causes the arteries to become narrow and rigid, which ends up leading to headaches, breathing difficulties, dizziness, chest pain, complications in the kidney, eyesight problems, palpitations and even a stroke.
From the Spanish Heart Foundation has been warned, in fact, that the number of deaths from hypertensive diseases is today 90% greater than that of 10 years ago .
Treatment and prevention of hypertension
The healthy eating is again vital in these cases. In fact, obesity is one of the additional causes that favor the development of these cardiovascular problems. In the diet, it is recommended to reduce the levels of salt and saturated fats in the dishes and frequently introduce fruit and vegetables. The practice of sport , and the elimination of tobacco and alcohol reduction also play a relevant role.
However, if a person is hypertensive per se, he or she must undergo pharmacological treatment and reconcile the previous recommendations with the medical prescription given.
4. Breast cancer
Breast cancer is the most frequent tumor among Western women .
It is a malignant tumor that originates in the tissue of the mammary gland. The latest data presented by the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC) reveal that in 2015 more than 26,000 women diagnosed with the disease were registered. By 2020 an increase of 11% of the cases is expected, that is, an increase of more than 2,000 additional affected persons (more than 28,000 in total). According to the association, 1 in 8 women will have breast cancer throughout their lives.
One of the dangers of the disease is its lack of obvious symptoms during its early phase. However, some of the most frequent signs are the sinking of the nipples , irregularities in the contour of the breast and even changes in their size and color.
Family history, genetic predisposition, prolonged exposure to the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, or the use of hormone replacement therapy after menopause, are some of the factors that may raise the risk of breast cancer.
Treatment and prevention of breast cancer
The AECC assures that there is not, for the moment, a preventive treatment that can totally avoid cancer. However, it has been shown with recent studies that the risk of suffering from this disease can be reduced by practicing frequent exercise, at least 4 hours a week, avoiding overweight and also avoiding alcohol consumption.
Doctors also promote an effective practice to quickly detect the presence of a tumor in the breast, self-examination of the breast . According to statistics, at least 20% of cases are detected in time with this exercise.
Although it is an unknown chronic disease, it affects between 2% and 6% Spanish population, being more common among women . According to the data of the Spanish Society of Rheumatology, they cover almost 90% of the cases , which would translate as 1,600,000 affected.
Fibromyalgia means muscular disease and fibrous tissue (ie, ligaments and tendons). This consists in an alteration of the perception of pain, in such a way that they are perceived as painful stimuli that for a normal person are not.
The cause of this disease is unknown , but it is thought that any situation of acute or chronic stress can be a trigger. As it has been advanced, it is characterized by the presence of a generalized musculoskeletal pain. This is accompanied almost in all cases by fatigue (90%), sleep disorders (70-80%), and even, anxiety and depression (25%).
An additional problem is that there are no objective tests that favor the diagnosis of the disease for the time being. Therefore, the analyzes and radiographs are the only methods to rule out that the patient is suffering from another type of pathology.
Treatment and prevention of fibromyalgia
Currently there is no cure for this condition, but the treatments are aimed at alleviating the symptoms to the greatest possible extent, always depending on the type of patient.