WOMEN'S ISSUES:
A RISK CHECKLIST for WOMEN

Current Research/Statistics

You'll need medical advice on whether to start hormone therapy and how long to continue it. But it will be helpful if you yourself understand your risk factors for heart disease, osteporosis, and breast cancer. If you have multiple risk factors for heart disease and osteoporosis, you should strongly consider hormone therapy. On the other hand, if you have multiple risks for breast cancer, you should consider not taking it.

Growing older is, in and of itself, a risk factor for heart disease, osteporosis and breast cancer.

Heart Disease Risk Factors

Smoking
Family history of heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure in close relatives
Elevated total blood cholesterol (above 240 mg/dl is 'high"; 200 to 239, "borderline-high"). HDL ("good") cholesterol below 35
Obesity
Distribution of body fat around the waist and abdomen rather than the hips
Sedentary life-style
High blood pressure (levels above 140/90)
Diabetes

Osteoporosis Risk Factors

Being of European or Asian origin. African-American women are at lower risk
Family history
Poor diet, especially one high in sodium and low in vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamine D and calcium
Sedentary life-style, especially the lack of weight-bearing exercise
Obesity
Smoking
Heavy alcohol use
Long-term use of certain medications, such as cortisone or thyroid hormones

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

A first-degree relative (mother or sister) with breast cancer
Early onset of menstruation (before 13) or late menopause (after 50)
Not having had children, or having a first child after 35
Not having breast fed
Obesity
A breast biopsy that suggested increased risk

5/29/98

From UC Berkeley Wellness Letter: Not intended to provide medical advice on personal health matters, which should be obtained directly from a physician.

 

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