Getting a serious diagnosis from your doctor can be life altering. You may become scared, depressed, and unsure about the future. Women often find themselves suffering from illnesses unique to women, unaware of how common it is, or of the preventative measures they could have taken. With the proper knowledge and support team by your side you don’t have to feel alone.

The following are three medical diseases and conditions women are prone to getting and the treatment.

Heart disease

Heart disease is the No.1 killer of women in the US. Despite the decades of staggering numbers, medical treatment of heart disease has historical catered to men. Trials on drugs to treat this disease have been done on men, and don’t take into account the way female bodies respond to the certain medicine. Despite being one of the most significant health conditions for men and women, women continue to be more greatly affected by it.

It’s important to pay attention to the symptoms, as they can emerge differently for women than for men. If you’re noticing fatigue, shortness of breath, digestive issues, and even trouble sleeping, these may be signs of the disease. As a child, your body is already beginning to map out your health issues. Childhood obesity, for example, can impact your heart health in your adult life. A study found in 3000 young adults ages 15 to 34 who had aortic and coronary issues and higher BMI’s were more likely to have CVD as an adult. Exercise, healthy diet, and stress reducing activities can help lower your chances of having a heart attack. Additionally, smoking can also increase your chances of a heart attack.

Cancer

In 2017 over 250,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. A cancer diagnosis can considerably impact your life and it’s therefore important to educate yourself about your risks, prevention, and facts about breast cancer as a form of prevention. The BRCA gene is known to raise your chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer. A blood test can be taken to determine if your DNA carries this particular gene and, if so, there may be preventative measures to take. Those include are oral contraceptives, or as a dramatic move, mastectomy surgery to remove healthy breast tissues and ovaries. Though it doesn’t eliminate the risk entirely it still gives you a better chance of avoiding the cancer.

Symptoms of breast cancer may include weight loss, lumps during a mammogram or by yourself, or changes in marks on your skin. If you find out this test comes back positive, your doctor will help guide you in the direction of what is best for you. This may include medication, frequent screenings, with surgery being the last resort. Maintaining an active lifestyle and health diet can help reduce your risk as well.

Autoimmune diseases and conditions

An autoimmune disease is when your body misidentifies safe cells in your body as hostile intruders and attacks itself. Though both men and women suffer from these conditions, they are more common in women and especially during a woman’s reproductive years. These diseases include lupus, type 1 diabetes, and conditions like endometriosis and fibromyalgia.

In the case of endometriosis, abnormalities during menstruation occur causing extreme pain.

During normal menstruation the uterus lining sheds when a woman is not pregnant. This lining then becomes as your period. However for women who suffer from endometriosis, this tissue can back up and attack healthy organs and travel anywhere in the body except for the spleen. Symptoms can include heavy bleeding, painful cramps, painful intercourse and most likely associated with infertility. Unfortunately, risk factors for endometriosis are unknown.

With Lupus, the disease can attack any  lupus can attack any part of the body. 16,000 cases of lupus arises each year, most of them being women in their childbearing years. Pain and swelling of joints due to lupus can damage parts of your body. Though the symptoms of lupus can be fever, extreme fatigue, and headaches, lupus is not contagious. Medication, getting enough sleep, and eating healthy in addition to low impact exercise and learning to cope with lupus will be discussed with your doctor.

Though not always commonly discussed, women’s health is unique. Pay attention to your symptoms and discuss family history as well as anything abnormal with your doctor.