Women’s health, hospital visits and mental illness

Go figure: women live longer than men, yet are 7.8% more likely to be admitted to hospital

Australian women have a higher life expectancy than Australian men, living on average 4.5 years longer. However, this may not mean they are experiencing better health. In fact, Medibank data suggests women are 7.8% more likely to be admitted to hospital than men, and more likely to have longer stays.

This finding is supported by independent research that shows women report more episodes of poor health, seek medical assistance more often, take more medication, and – likely as a result of their increased life expectancy – experience a higher burden of chronic disease and disability.

Health concerns of Australian women

The Medibank data showed the most common hospital treatment for women in 2013 was digestive endoscopy (which was also the most common treatment for men). The second most common service area for women was gynaecology, while the third was psychiatry.

Mental illness is the leading cause of disability for Australian women and represents the highest burden of nonfatal illness. However, women are more likely than men to seek support for mental health concerns (41% compared with 28%). Dr Melissa Lehmann, Medibank National Specialist Services Manager, says it is important for women to be aware of what keeps them mentally well and to recognise when they might need support.

“Women’s mental health needs may vary at different times of their lives,” she says. “For example, adolescent and young women may be more prone to developing a negative body image, which is in turn linked to a range of psychological disorders such as anorexia, bulimia or depression.

“Pregnancy and the postnatal period are also a time of mental vulnerability when women may need extra care and support. Independent research shows that women in mid-life have a higher prevalence of mental illness than women in any other age groups.”

If you are struggling with your mental health, contact beyondblue or try any of these mental health support lines and websites.

Rural and regional women’s health

It’s also important to be aware that people living in rural and remote areas often experience higher rates of poor health than those living in cities. Typically, they have less access to health services as may need to travel further to seek medical attention. Women living in rural areas in particular often experience poorer health and have a lower life expectancy than those in metro areas. In addition, levels of alcohol consumption and rates of obesity and chronic disease are higher amongst women in rural regions.

Find out more at medibank.com.au

Recommended reading - Sleeping well

Community

4 steps to a better night’s sleep

We all know how frustrating a sleepless night can be. Enjoy some rest with these simple steps.

Read more
Community

4 tools to track your sleep

How well are you really sleeping? Find out with one of these handy sleep monitors.

Read more
Experts

5 expert tips for better sleep

Sleep expert John Toomey shares how to get a restful night’s sleep – every night.

Read more
Lifestyle

5 reasons to work on your sleep

From weight management to happiness - here’s a handful of reasons you should work on your sleep.

Read more
Experts

5 ways to sleep better tonight

Dying for slumbering solutions? Follow these specialist tips for obtaining elusive better sleep.

Read more
Lifestyle

6 steps to better sleep

43% of Gen Y are concerned with a lack of sleep. Here’s 6 easy ways to improve your slumber.

Read more
Guides

6 ways to sleep better tonight

Get a good night’s rest with these tips.

Read more
Advice

10 best mental health apps

Top apps for managing anxiety, boosting your mood and checking in with your mental wellbeing.

Read more
In Brief

Australians spend more time in front of screens than sleeping

Medibank study finds we average 9 hours a day staring at screens: how’s it impacting our health?

Read more
In Brief

Bad night’s sleep? Take two power naps

Send this study your boss's way. Two half-hour naps a day may improve workplace productivity.

Read more
In Brief

Cleaning your brain while you sleep

Sweep away your mental mess with some quality shut-eye.

Read more
Experts

How tryptophan helps you sleep better

This nutrient can lull you into a deeper, more restful sleep.

Read more
Community

Natural light and sleep

What role does light – natural and artificial – play in our natural sleeping patterns?

Read more
In Brief

Later school starts could help sleepy teenagers

Sleep scientists suggest the importance of later starts to allow for teenager’s changing body clocks

Read more
Experts

Sleep better: 6 ways to improve your slumber

From heart disease to diabetes; Dr Cheng explains how sleep deprivation affects you.

Read more
Experts

Sleep is the best medicine

Getting enough sleep? This World Sleep Day make a commitment to your wellbeing with deeper slumber.

Read more
Guides

Sleep more, play better

How sleeping can improve your sports and exercise performance.

Read more
Community

Sleep outs inspired by nature

These beautiful travel accommodation ideas take their lead from the great outdoors.

Read more
Community

Sleep trivia

Nine facts you might not know about sleep.

Read more
Experts

Sleep well, be well

Of all the things to sacrifice in the interest of saving time, don’t let sleep become one of them.

Read more
Community

Support for sleeping on your side

The Side Sleeper Pro pillow encourages natural alignment of your neck and back while you snooze.

Read more
Advice

The 7 best sleep apps

Tired of counting sheep and losing sleep? Here’s 7 apps to find that deep rest you’re dreaming of.

Read more
In Brief

The cost of sleep troubles

Need another reason to sleep? Sleep deprivation is costing Australia $5.1 billion annually.

Read more
Community

The history of sleep

We love getting eight hours - but it hasn't always been that way. Take a look at slumber traditions.

Read more
Experts

The restorative power of sleep

Key ways to improve the quality of slumber: from weight management to the perfect sleep environment.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.