Prevent chronic lower respiratory diseases
Many women don't realize that they're at risk of illness and even death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — which includes bronchitis and emphysema. Don't be caught off guard. To protect your respiratory health:
- Don't smoke. If you smoke, ask your doctor to help you quit. Also avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Steer clear of pollutants. Minimize exposure to chemicals and outdoor air pollution.
- Prevent respiratory infections. Wash your hands often and get a yearly flu vaccine. Ask your doctor whether you need a pneumonia vaccine as well.
The bottom line
It's important to understand the common health risks that women face, but don't feel intimidated. Instead, do whatever you can to lead a healthy lifestyle — including eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, quitting smoking and getting regular checkups. Simple preventive measures can go a long way toward reducing your health risks.
Aug. 17, 2013
See more In-depth
- FastStats: Leading causes of death. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm. Accessed May 9, 2013.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/copd. Accessed May 9, 2013.
- Hennekens CH. Overview of primary prevention of coronary heart disease and stroke. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 9, 2013.
- Khan N, et al. Lifestyle as risk factor for cancer: Evidence from human studies. Cancer Letters. 2010;293:133.
- Protecting your lungs. American Lung Association. http://www.lungusa.org/your-lungs/protecting-your-lungs. Accessed May 9, 2013.
- Harris R. Overview of preventive medicine in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 9, 2013.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm. Accessed May 9, 2013.
- Rethinking drinking: Alcohol and your health. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/IsYourDrinkingPatternRisky/WhatsLowRiskDrinking.asp. Accessed May 9, 2013.
- Reiche EM, et al. Stress, depression, the immune system, and cancer. Lancet Oncology. 2004;5:617.