Three experts tackled the top health concerns for Southwest Louisiana: Dr. Ron Lewis, Internist at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, Kisha Guillory, Outreach Coordinator at SWLA Center for Health Services and Kara Babez, Registered Nurse at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital. Below is their compiled list for women and men.
Women's Top Health Concerns
"A lot of people think it's breast cancer, but it really isn't. Heart disease is the leading across the board," said Kisha Guillory. Heart attack in women can have subtle symptoms, said Kara Babez, and for that reason it often goes unnoticed. Dr. Ron Lewis added that heart attack in women can often be more fatal than in men.
After or during menopause many women try hormone replacement drugs, but with or without the medication women can experience side effects from their hormonal change. Dr. Lewis emphasized that insomnia is a huge problem that can have adverse effects on overall health including obesity. "We know now if you don't sleep well, your hunger is out of control, you don't feel well and your outlook on life is not good," explain Dr. Lewis. Sleepiness extends beyond weight gain. The Nation Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 100,000 car accidents are caused by drowsy drivers.
"We love to eat! From gumbo to couvillion to rich sauces and things like that, we like to eat and that's it. We don't do anything after that. We just keep eating," said Guillory. Obesity leads to diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea and even depression, added Guillory. "We can eat less and exercise more. No medicine is going to replace that," said Dr. Lewis.
"Lung cancer may kill more women, but breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer we see," said Babez.
Men's Top Health Concerns
The cause of stroke and heart attack effects both genders as the "number one leading cause of death among men and women," said Guillory. Dr. Lewis added, "If I had to pick with a patient that comes to me what they are going to the die of, most often it is going to be cardiovascular disease." All three experts said the disease is preventable, though genetics do play a role.
Men are more prone to falls, incidental drowning and vehicle accidents, said Babez. She also added, "females are…I hate to say this, but better drivers!"
Going for a yearly checkup is not as common anymore. "Men don't come in as often as women do. Generally speaking men tend to seek healthcare less overall anyway," said Babez. All three experts said preventative screenings like for colon cancer can save lives.
Lung cancer is the top killer, said Dr. Lewis, but prostate cancer and colon cancer are also prevalent.