271310 Women and chronic diseases: Prevention and wellness across the lifespan

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 10:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Gopal Sankaran, MD, DrPH, MNAMS, CHES , Department of Health, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, West Chester, PA
Heart disease, cancer and stroke are the top three chronic diseases accounting for over half the deaths among women in the United States. In addition, the morbidity and disability ensuing from chronic diseases place a heavy burden on individuals, families, communities and the healthcare system. In the United States, more than two-thirds of the spending on health care is directed towards people with chronic conditions. Lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use and alcohol abuse are four modifiable risk factors that are implicated in the occurrence of several chronic diseases including the leading three causes of death. These major risk factors, along with their negative health outcomes, continue to place an increasing burden on the United States healthcare system. With women living longer, and in the absence of a permanent cure for most chronic conditions, it is expected that their prevalence among women will further increase and the ensuing need for care will pose additional challenges. Furthermore, gender inequities in access to care and its utilization adversely impact women, particularly those who are already socially and economically disadvantaged. To counteract the increasing burden of illness, disability and death among women due to chronic diseases, evidence-based interventions that reduce or eliminate the modifiable risk factors are essential. Using empirical data, this paper presents how appropriate and effective prevention strategies can be applied through the lifespan of women to curb chronic diseases and their impact thereby leading to better health and wellbeing.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the burden of chronic diseases in terms of morbidity, mortality and disability among women in the United States. 2. Explain the gender inequities faced by women in accessing and utilizing healthcare and the resultant impact on women’s health. 3. Specify the need for primary prevention and its utility in reducing the burden of chronic diseases among women. 4. Identify effective prevention strategies for addressing chronic diseases in women to promote their health and wellbeing.

Keywords: Women's Health, Chronic Diseases

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Over 25+ years as a physician, public health specialist and health educator. Board certified in maternal and child health. Written and presented on issues pertaining to women and chronic diseases.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.