Busy life tells on women’s health
As urban women play the role of a professional and homemaker, the busy life they lead often tells on their health. Incidences of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, hypothyroidism and declining fertility are steadily rising among them and they seek medical help only when things take a serious turn.
On the eve of International Women’s Day, DNA discussed some common health issues faced by women with experts. These disorders are non-occupational hazards and account for prolonged absenteeism at work.
Urban women face a set of gynecological disorders due to a highly demanding professional life, odd working hours, stressful life and delayed marriage, said Dr B Ramesh, consultant gynae endoscopic surgeon, Dr Ramesh Hospital, Bangalore.
Between managing the professional and personal commitments, many of them ignore their reproductive health as the effects of a poor reproductive health are not alarming or incapacitating. More and more cases are diagnosed at a stage when fertility becomes a pressing issue due to social or family pressure, he added.
Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) is yet another common problem among women today. “The incidence of PCOD has increased from 5% to at least 20% among women in their reproductive age group. Also, in over 60% of cases with menstrual irregularities, PCOD is the reason,” said Dr Padmini Prasad, director, Institute of Sexual Medicine.
But why does it occur? Doctors attribute the modern day food habit as one of the main reasons.
“Busy working women don’t eat a proper breakfast, lunch and dinner. They keep fasting or survive on junk food and are more likely to have only one proper meal. Now since their food intake is not spread out in a proper manner, the blood glucose level is also not maintained in the body properly. Starving the whole day and eating heavily once fluctuates the glucose level in blood,” explained Dr Prasad.
“This leads to increasing fat deposition in the adipose tissues in the tummy or hip. Now fat deposition in the abdomen is harmful. It locks up the hormone in the fatty tissue. The hormone production in the ovary gets disturbed and insulin resistance increases leading to disturbed metabolism in the ovary,” she said.
Excessive stress is the main culprit for health-related issues among urban women today. This leads to diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes.
“Menstrual irregularity is highly related to stress. Studies have shown that 68.2% of hypothyroid women had menstrual irregularities. These sometimes preceded thyroid dysfunction. In India, the diagnosis of hypothyroidism is delayed, and so the disease progresses to a more serious stage before a diagnosis is made,” said Dr Mala Dharmalingam, endocrinologist, MS Ramaiah Hospital.