We all know that women’s bodies are different from men, but to what extent do we truly understand how women can take unique preventative measures to live a long and healthy life?

Here are 5 health conditions that affect women, and how you can take care of yourself now to prevent them from arising or escalating in the future.

1. Stress
Stress affects all of us in varying degrees depending on circumstances, but in a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 50% of women are likely to report being stressed, compared to 39% of men. Stress is related to inflammation, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system, and can be a pre-cursor to many, more serious, health conditions. Take care to reduce stress now, before it becomes more severe! Get plenty of sleep, eat well, hydrate, address and remove the root cause of your stress, and let something go when you feel overwhelmed.

2. Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, Osteoporosis affects 44 million Americans, 68% of which are women. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and is the leading cause of disability in the United States. To slow down or prevent the onset of these diseases, ensure a diet rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and vitamin D. It also helps to have regular weight-bearing activity to keep core muscles and joints strong, and to maintain a healthy weight.

3. Urinary tract issues
Affecting women more often than men, things like urinary tract infections (UTI’s), incontinence, pelvic floor disorders, uterine fibroids, and related conditions can be uncomfortable, painful, and embarrassing. Prevent these by doing kegel exercises regularly, urinating after intercourse, consuming adequate water and not holding your pee too long, and staying clean. Avoiding processed foods and consuming lots of leafy greens and organic foods will also help.

4. Autoimmune disease
About 75% of cases of autoimmune diseases occur in women, according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA). The include a very long list of diseases including lupus, hashimotos thyroiditis, and multiple sclerosis. More research is needed to understand what causes these diseases, but ultimately it comes down to the body attacking it’s own cells and tissues. Genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors are suspected contributors. Maintaining overall health and being vigilant about getting help are the best strategies for prevention, be especially determined if you have mysterious or persistent symptoms with no clear diagnosis.

5. Breast and cervical cancer
According to the World Health Organization’s latest global figures, around half a million women die from cervical cancer, and half a million more from breast cancer each year. Many of the deaths occur in low and middle income countries with little screening, prevention, and treatments, and generally lower quality of health when it comes to nutrition and sanitation. To keep yourself healthy, maintain overall wellness, eat well, assess your family history, and get appropriate screenings as needed.

You may have noticed a common theme emerging, which is that simple self-care practices like sleep, hydration, regular movement, and nutritious diets are your best defense against the onset of many diseases common to women. That’s what the holistic approach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition is all about.

We may not always be able to prevent diseases from impacting our bodies, but relatively simple techniques can go a long way in minimizing or staving off health conditions to improve our quality of life!

Share with us below your techniques to improve quality of life!