Demographic Variables in Women’s Health
As the United States of America is one of the most multinational countries in the world, its demographics in health care are represented not only by gender and age determinants but also by race and ethnicity.
In women’s health, the highest rates of heart disease and mortality caused by it were observed in the African-American population, the tendency was especially distinctive in the middle of the 1990s (ACOG, 2005). The population with the second-worst heart health was white, whereas Asians and Pacific Islanders were registered as those with a lower risk of death from heart disease, which was twice lower than that of the African-American women (ACOG, 2005). Besides, the incidence of breast cancer is higher in white women, while African-American women are more likely to die from it (ACOG, 2005). Moreover, African-American and Hispanic populations dominate in the rates of AIDS; the two ethnicities comprise 78% of all populations affected by this syndrome (ACOG, 2005). As for maternal health, African-American and Hispanic women are also likely to have preterm births more often than white women; and in addition to that, the risk of pregnancy-related death is 3 to 6 times higher for African-American mothers (ACOG, 2005).
Health Concerns and Most Prevalent Issues as Women Age
Since women tend to live longer than men, the overall percentage of the female population of the elderly segment is growing by the year. Just like it is with men, the main causes of deaths and diseases women experience in old age are the results of their lifestyles and such factors as diets rich in salt, fat, and cholesterol, smoking, and hard physical labor (WHO, 2009). Cardiovascular disease is the main cause of death among the older population of both sexes regardless of geographic areas (WHO, 2009). Among the women coming from high-income countries such as the United States, ischemic heart disease, and stroke are the two leading causes of death; they are followed by Alzheimer’s and dementias of other kinds (WHO, 2009). Three of the ten positions on the list of leading causes of death among women in high-income countries are occupied by cancers. Women who are older than 60 tend to have a higher predisposition to dementias that often come along with severe depression and result in a high percentage of loss of healthy years. Another factor that complicates the lives of elderly women is the lack of access to high-quality care, and this is why many of the disabilities they suffer from remain untreated even though they can be cured.
Preventive-based Care and Health Promotion for the Diverse Population of Women
The causes of death in older women can be represented in two main categories – leading and actual ones. The leading causes of death are the health conditions and diseases that facilitate the degeneration of human bodies, whereas the actual causes of death are the habits and behaviors that enable the conditions and diseases (Spalding & Sebesta, 2008). That way, to provide preventive care and to promote health the nurses are to target the actual causes of death addressing them before they turn into lethal threats. Among the actual causes of death in modern society there are inactivity, alcohol consumption, smoking, diets rich in salt, sodium, sugar, and fat. They enable such conditions as cerebrovascular and heart disease, malignant neoplasm, diabetes, chronic lower respiratory disease. A change in habits and lifestyles is likely to prevent and minimize most of these conditions (Spalding & Sebesta, 2008).
This way, the promotion of a healthy lifestyle, nurse-led reminder programs (via phone or emails), seminars, and classes educating the populations about lifestyle choices and their outcomes will help to address some of the problems. It is also important to ensure that older women visit the doctors for regular checkups that involve screenings for cancer.
Women’s Movements in the United States and their Relation to Provision of Health Care to Women
Sexism in medicine is described as the belief that women’s diseases are not as important as the same conditions in men and due to the lack of recognition of the diseases prevalent in women they may receive little or no monetary compensation or insurance. Sexism in medicine has been raised as a serious issue ever since the beginning of the 20th century. In 1919, the suffragists supported and marched for the health insurance reform that was supposed to protect the wellbeing of the working female population including maternity benefits and compulsory health insurance (Hoffman, 2003). The next loud protest against sexism in medicine occurred in the 1960s and 1970s when the feminist movements demanded that health care be recognized as a right that has to be provided freely by the society for its members as equals (Hoffman, 2003). The same period is known for the debates around legal abortion and birth control as parts of women’s right to privacy (Hoffman, 2003). In addition, women’s movements insisted that equitable health care services are provided for all female populations regardless of their economic status.
ACOG. (2005). Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Women’s Health. Web.
Hoffman, B. (2003). Health Care Reform and Social Movements in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 93(1), 75–85
Spalding, M. C., & Sebesta, S. C. (2008).Geriatric Screening and Preventive Care. American Family Physician, 78(2), 206-215.
WHO. (2009). Women and health: Today’s evidence, tomorrow’s agenda. Web.