5 diseases that all Indian women should watch out for

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Dr Rahul Manchanda, a leading Gynaecologist Endoscopic surgeon from Delhi, talks about 5 common diseases that Indian women should watch out for.

It's very typical of Indian women to care about one and all in the family but themselves. While it is good to care for your kids and your family, all you ladies should also be worried about your health and the steps that you should take to prevent some common diseases that are prevalent in Indian women.

"Women are the drivers of a family and if they are unwell themselves the whole family suffers, which is why it very important for women to take care of health and pay attention to their everyday health," says Dr Rahul Manchanda, a leading consultant Gynaecologist Endoscopic surgeon at Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute (PSRI), New Delhi.

In this article, Dr Manchanda talks about 5 common diseases that Indian women should watch out for.

#1 Breast Cancer

Data from The Global Burden of Cancer 2013 shows that breast cancer is one of the top causes of cancer deaths among women in India. The breast cancer rates have in fact doubled between 1990 and 2013 says the report. And the most startling fact is that despite being one of the most treatable cancers, most women only come to know of it when they have already reached stage 3 and 4.

“Women fall into two groups as far as breast cancer is concerned, those who have a family history and those who don’t. If you have a family history, you fall into a high risk group and these women should be managed more carefully by a certified doctor. They should go for regular doctor visits and get the recommended tests done as advised," says Dr Manchanda.

The best thing that those who don't fall in the high risk zone can do to minimize their risk is do a regular self examination of the breasts. "But for this they need to visit a doctor and then understand from him how to do it properly. They also need to know when is the right time to do a self examination for example before or after a period. If they find anything suspicious, they should go to the doctor and discuss what needs to be done, whether a mammogram or an ultrasound of the breast. After the age of 40 or 45 they should have a regular ultrasound and mammogram of the breasts,” says Dr Manchanda.

#2 Cervical cancer

Did you know that cervical cancer is the second most common cancer worldwide and in India as well. Every year cervical cancer is diagnosed in about 500,000 women globally and is responsible for more than 280,000 deaths annually. The peak age of occurrence of cervical cancer in India is between 55 and 59 years.

“Cervical cancer is one of the biggest killers in women in our country. A simple test like a pap smear is enough to prevent it and if there is any abnormality found, you need to treat it immediately. Any girl whether married or unmarried needs to have a pap smear after the age of 18 and after that every 3 years. You can also take the cervical cancer vaccine which is easily available these days after consulting your gynaecologist," says Dr Manchanda.

#3 Endometriosis

A disease which came into the limelight after super model Padma Lakshmi announced that she suffers from it, endometriosis is a common medical problem affecting about 89 million young women in the reproductive age group worldwide. A study published by the Endometriosis Society of India, in which around 2500 doctors participated, said that at least 26 million Indian women between the ages of 18 and 35 were afflicted by endometriosis

"Endometriosis is unfortunately not even recognized by most doctors/ gynaecologists forget women. This could be due to the fact that the main symptom of this disease is period pain that could be normal as well as physiological. Whatever be the case,  it should be investigated by a proper gynaecologist  as if left undiagnosed the condition of the woman  would deteriorate as you are bleeding from inside also. Sadly, there is no cure for endometriosis and it can only be managed if caught early," says Dr Manchanda.

Dr Manchanda says that the best thing is to catch it early and for that you have to a woman must see a gynaecologist if you have excessive period pain. "While people might laugh at you as most women have pain during the period, it is better to catch endometriosis early than to ignore," he adds.

 #4 Anaemia and Malnutrition

In India, anaemia affects an estimated 50 percent of the population and can be called the silent killer in women. The problem becomes more severe as more women are affected with it as compared to men. It is estimated that about 20 percent-40 percent of maternal deaths in India are due to anaemia and One in every two Indian women (56 percent) suffers from some form of anaemia.

“Anaemia is again very prevalent in Indian women as we live in a male dominated society and there are still families where the women eats whatever is left at the dining table. But the fact is that they are the ones that are bearing children, which is why they should have a good nutritious diet, " adds Dr Manchanda.

Th main symptoms of Anaemia are weakness, lethargy, tiredness, heavy bleeding during the period. There are two causes of anaemia-- a diet that lacks nutrition and heavy bleedind during periods. "Losing excessive blood during your periods also leads to anaemia. If you have period problems, you need to see the doctor immediately," says Dr Manchanda.

Dr Manchanda also advices that women need to be eating more green leafy vegetables if they are vegetarian, more soya, paneer, milk in their diets. Non-vegetarians can have chicken or meat that they like to beat it.

# 5 Heart Disease

“In India we have an idea that only men can suffer from heart disease and hypertension but let me tell you that it is a bigger killer in women than in men—the morbidity and mortality is more in women than in men. Women have hormones that are very important but they need to be checked and managed properly by a doctor," says Dr Manchanda.

Research says that heart attacks in women are also more often misdiagnosed or missed in women as they are not aware that a simple thing such as a flu or shortness of breath, jaw pain or back pain could also be a symptom of heart disease. The key to keep it at bay is by taking care of your lifestyle, diet and exercise regimen. "It's high time women concentrate on their health as well and just don't take care of their family alone," concludes Dr Manchanda.

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