Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

The Head, Hand, and Heart of Women’s Health

Maintaining peak health is critical for all military personnel. This month, we focus on women whose health concerns and symptoms may be different from those in men. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Roger Jackson) Maintaining peak health is critical for all military personnel. This month, we focus on women whose health concerns and symptoms may be different from those in men. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Roger Jackson)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Women's Health

While healthy living is essential to all military personnel and civilians, there are some health concerns that affect women differently than men, sometimes with more life-threatening consequences. October—Women’s Health Month—provides a platform to educate women on issues that affect their day-to-day lives. The Military Health System contributes by addressing health issues as they relate to women.

From the catchphrase of nonprofit organizations to ancient lifestyle teachings, the concept of nurturing the “head, hand, and heart” has been referenced in popular culture, specifically when it comes to health. Nourishing these three aspects of health, and noting how symptoms in women may differ from those in men, can keep women ready and vigilant to counter health issues as they arise. Here are a few areas of health that women should take into consideration.

The Head: Managing migraines and depression

“A higher percentage of women than men suffer from migraines,” said Briana Todd, clinical psychologist at the Psychological Health Center of Excellence. “Research suggests women experience them approximately two to three times more frequently.”

According to Todd, many migraines in women are related to a drop in estrogen levels, particularly around a woman’s menstrual cycle. Estrogen drop is just one of multiple red flags that may precede a migraine. Todd says that tracking these warning signals will help women manage future migraines and mitigate symptoms.

Another illness that affects women differently is depression, marked by a period of low mood lasting at least two weeks. Depression affects women most drastically during three stages of life: puberty, post-pregnancy, and just before menopause.

Medical professionals like Navy Cmdr. Paulette Cazares, associate director for mental health at the Naval Medical Center San Diego, urge women to view depression the same way they view other serious illnesses that require treatment. “[This] allows service members to realize the necessity of early treatment, and the ability to stay focused on career and personal goals,” Cazares said.

The Hand: Protecting the body against breast cancer

Recent statistics posted by the National Cancer Institute list breast cancer as the most common cancer in the United States. While the disease exists in both men and women, women are estimated to be diagnosed nearly 100 times more often than men. Changes in the breast region like persistent pain, lumps, dimpling, irritation, and expelling of abnormal discharge are all symptoms of breast cancer. Women are advised to visit their providers if these symptoms persist.

Factors like family history cannot be changed in preventing breast cancer, but keeping fit via diet and exercise can. Women are advised to avoid unhealthy behaviors like excessive alcohol or cigarette use. Breast cancer screening is also a healthy tool to keep track of breast health and detect symptoms early. Women should talk to their providers about these screenings and materials for self-assessments of breast health.

The Heart: Preventing heart disease

Heart disease is a common health complication for both men and women, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributing it to one in every four male deaths as opposed to one in five female deaths. However, heart disease is still the leading cause of death in women in the United States.

Not every woman is symptomatic for heart disease; some fail to show warning signs until the onset of more serious episodes, such as heart attack, heart palpitations, or heart failure. Common symptoms to look for are pain in the chest, neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen, or back.

Women can reduce their chances of getting heart disease by paying attention to blood pressure and maintaining a healthy lifestyle of a balanced diet and exercise.

The Military Health System posts numerous resources for women looking to take charge of their health. Visit the Military Health System’s Women’s Health page for more information.

You also may be interested in...

For Colon Cancer Patients, Military Health System Shows Better Results

Article
9/3/2021
Graphic image of a colon with polyps.

A USU study found MHS patients with colon cancer have better survival rates than patients in the general population.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

MHS and MOS Town Hall To Your Health: Dental Health

Article
8/24/2021
MHS and Military OneSource Townhall graphic

MHS and Military OneSource presents a discussion about Dental Health.

Recommended Content:

Total Body Preventive Health - Dental, Medical & Mental | Total Body Preventive Health and Total Force Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Dental Care | MHS and Military OneSource To Your Health

Are You Procrastinating Your Doctor’s Visit? Don’t Delay Any Longer

Article
8/23/2021
Photo of two military women talking.

Preventive health care is key to long-term health, prevention, and early detection.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

PCOS is a common condition for women, but it's often undiagnosed

Article
8/20/2021
A certified nurse midwife performs an ultrasound on a patient

The NIH describes PCOS as under-recognized, underdiagnosed, and understudied

Recommended Content:

Women's Health

Do You Need a Medical Alert ID? It Could Save Your Life

Article
8/18/2021
Graphic image of a person's forearm wearing a medical alert bracelet and a close-up of the bracelet.

Medical alert devices can save your life – never leave home without yours.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Health Tools

Preventive Health Care for You

Video
8/11/2021
Preventive Heath Care For You

Preventive health care - getting a physical exam, getting vaccines on time, and listening to your body - is key to a long and healthy life.

Recommended Content:

Total Body Preventive Health and Total Force Fitness | Total Body Preventive Health - Dental, Medical & Mental | August Toolkit | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

Back to School Fast Tips

Video
8/11/2021
Back to School Fast Tips

Here are some fast tips for a smooth and safe transition to getting back to school this year.

Recommended Content:

August Toolkit | Back to School | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health

How You Can Prevent This Cancer-Causing Sexually Transmitted Infection

Article
8/4/2021
Doctor talking to a boy

Get the HPV vaccinations for cancer prevention if you haven’t already

Recommended Content:

Immunization Awareness Month | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | Immunizations

Checking Iron Levels in Your Blood Could Save Your Life

Article
7/23/2021
Military personnel donating blood

Hemochromatosis, a disease in which too much iron builds up in our bodies, can cause organ failure if untreated, affecting service members’ readiness. However, it can be treated.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

Immunization Awareness V1

Infographic
7/21/2021
Immunization Awareness

Immunization Awareness

Recommended Content:

August Toolkit | Immunization Awareness Month | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

Total Force Fitness Physical

Infographic
7/21/2021
Total Force Fitness - Total Body Preventive Health and Physical Fitness - Ability to physically accomplish all tasks while remaining mission capable and avoiding injury

Total Force Fitness - Total Body Preventive Health and Physical Fitness - Ability to physically accomplish all tasks while remaining mission capable and avoiding injury

Recommended Content:

August Toolkit | Total Body Preventive Health and Total Force Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

Immunization Awareness Pneumococcal Vaccines and Smokers

Infographic
7/21/2021
Immunization Awareness - Pneumococcal Vaccines and Smokers

Immunization Awareness - Pneumococcal Vaccines and Smokers

Recommended Content:

August Toolkit | Immunization Awareness Month | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Immunizations | Tobacco-Free Living

Preventive Care Child 3

Infographic
7/20/2021
Preventive Care Supports a Ready Force

Preventive Care Supports a Ready Force

Recommended Content:

August Toolkit | Total Body Preventive Health and Total Force Fitness | Total Body Preventive Health - Dental, Medical & Mental | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

Preventive Care Child 2

Infographic
7/20/2021
Preventive Care Supports a Ready Force

Preventive Care Supports a Ready Force

Recommended Content:

August Toolkit | Total Body Preventive Health and Total Force Fitness | Total Body Preventive Health - Dental, Medical & Mental | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

Preventive Care Diabetes 1

Infographic
7/20/2021
Preventive Care Supports a Ready Force

Preventive Care Supports a Ready Force

Recommended Content:

August Toolkit | Total Body Preventive Health - Dental, Medical & Mental | Total Body Preventive Health and Total Force Fitness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 45

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.