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1.  Women's Health Surveillance Report: Introduction 
BMC Women's Health  2004;4(Suppl 1):S1.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-4-S1-S1
PMCID: PMC2096695  PMID: 15345064
2.  Eating Disorders 
BMC Women's Health  2004;4(Suppl 1):S21.
Health Issue
Eating disorders are an increasing public health problem among young women. Anorexia and bulimia may give rise to serious physical conditions such as hypothermia, hypotension, electrolyte imbalance, endocrine disorders, and kidney failure.
Key Issues
Eating disorders are primarily a problem among women. In Ontario in 1995, over 90% of reported hospitalized cases of anorexia and bulimia were women. In addition to eating disorders, preoccupation with weight, body image and self-concept disturbances, are more prevalent among women than men.
Women with eating disorders are also at risk for long-term psychological and social problems, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicide. For instance, in 2000, the prevalence of depression among women who were hospitalized with a diagnosis of anorexia (11.5%) or bulimia (15.4 %) was more than twice the rate of depression (5.7 %) among the general population of Canadian women. The highest incidence of depression was found in women aged 25 to 39 years for both anorexia and bulimia.
Data Gaps and Recommendations
Hospitalization data are the most recent and accessible information available. However, this data captures only the more severe cases. It does not include the individuals with eating disorders who may visit clinics or family doctors, or use hospital outpatient services or no services at all. Currently, there is no process for collecting this information systematically across Canada; consequently, the number of cases obtained from hospitalization data is underestimated. Other limitations noted during the literature review include the overuse of clinical samples, lack of longitudinal data, appropriate comparison groups, large samples, and ethnic group analysis.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-4-S1-S21
PMCID: PMC2096691  PMID: 15345084
3.  Depression 
BMC Women's Health  2004;4(Suppl 1):S19.
Health Issue
Depression causes significant distress or impairment in physical, social, occupational and other key areas of functioning. Women are approximately twice as likely as men to experience depression. Psychosocial factors likely mediate the risks for depression incurred by biological influences.
Key Findings
Data from the 1999 National Population Health Survey show that depression is more common among Canadian women, with an annual self-reported incidence of 5.7% compared with 2.9% in men. The highest rates of depression are seen among women of reproductive age. Predictive factors for depression include previous depression, feeling out of control or overwhelmed, chronic health problems, traumatic events in childhood or young adulthood, lack of emotional support, lone parenthood, and low sense of mastery. Although depression is treatable, only 43% of depressed women had consulted a health professional in 1998/99 and only 32.4% were taking antidepressant medication. People with lower education, inadequate income, and fewer contacts with a health professional were less likely to receive depression treatment.
Data Gaps and Recommendations
A better understanding of factors that increase vulnerability and resilience to depression is needed. There is also a need for the collection and analysis of data pertaining to: prevalence of clinical anxiety; the prevalence of depression band 12 months after childbirth factors contributing to suicide contemplation and attempts among adolescent girls, current treatments for depression and their efficacy in depressed women at different life stages; interprovincial variation in depression rates and hospitalizations and the impact and costs of depression on work, family, individuals, and society.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-4-S1-S19
PMCID: PMC2096692  PMID: 15345082
4.  Cardiovascular Disease 
BMC Women's Health  2004;4(Suppl 1):S15.
Health Issue
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in Canadian women and men. In general, women present with a wider range of symptoms, are more likely to delay seeking medial care and are less likely to be investigated and treated with evidence-based medications, angioplasty or coronary artery bypass graft than men.
Key Findings
In 1998, 78,964 Canadians died from CVD, almost half (39,197) were women. Acute myocardial infarction, which increases significantly after menopause, was the leading cause of death among women.
Cardiovascular disease accounted for 21% of all hospital admissions for Canadian women over age 50 in 1999. Admissions to hospital for ischemic heart disease were more frequent for men, but the mean length of hospital stay was longer for women.
Mean blood pressure increases with age in both men and women. After age 65, however, high blood pressure is more common among Canadian women. More than one-third of postmenopausal Canadian women have hypertension.
Diabetes increases the mortality and morbidity associated with CVD in women more than it does in men. Depression also contributes to the incidence and recovery from CVD, particularly for women who experience twice the rate of depression as men.
Data Gaps and Recommendations
CVD needs to be recognized as a woman's health issue given Canadian mortality projections (particularly heart failure). Health professionals should be trained to screen, track, and address CVD risk factors among women, including hypertension, elevated lipid levels, smoking, physical inactivity, depression, diabetes and low socio-economic status.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-4-S1-S15
PMCID: PMC2096681  PMID: 15345078
5.  Management of abnormal uterine bleeding by northern, rural and isolated primary care physicians: PART I – How are we doing? 
BMC Women's Health  2002;2:10.
Background
Canadian hysterectomy rates have declined in recent years. However, hysterectomy rates for discretionary indications, principally abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB), remain high in some regions. In northern Ontario, hysterectomy rates for women aged 34–45 are almost triple the rates in southern, urban areas. Primary care physicians (family doctors) usually manage AUB initially in these northern areas where a severe shortage of gynecologists exists.
Methods
We surveyed 194 family physicians in northern Ontario with a case scenario of a pre-menopausal woman with heavy vaginal bleeding to characterize management and to gain physicians' perspectives on the factors that affect it.
Results
To investigate her heavy vaginal bleeding, only 17% of physicians recommended a pelvic examination for the woman in our case scenario. Most physicians advocated a course of medical therapy before referral to a gynecologist, for whom the average waiting time was seven weeks. However, most physicians recommended referral after only one failed trial of medical treatment. Physicians felt that major deterrents to medical treatments were patient desires for immediate relief and/or permanent solutions, poor patient compliance and the high cost of medication. Only 25% of respondents indicated that they would perform an endometrial biopsy prior to referral.
Conclusions
Family physicians would benefit from further education on appropriate investigations for AUB, primarily training in pelvic examination and endometrial biopsy techniques, as well as appropriate treatment algorithms. Further research into patient perspectives on treatment options is needed.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-2-10
PMCID: PMC139969  PMID: 12443535
6.  Management of abnormal uterine bleeding by northern, rural and isolated primary care physicians: PART II: What do we need? 
BMC Women's Health  2002;2:11.
Background
Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) is a common problem that affects one in five women during the pre-menopausal years. It is frequently managed by family physicians, especially in northern, rural and isolated areas where severe shortages of gynecologists exist.
Methods
We surveyed 194 family physicians in northern, rural and isolated areas of Ontario, Canada to determine their educational and resource needs for the management of AUB, with a specific focus on the relevance and feasibility of using clinical practice guidelines (CPGs).
Results
Most physicians surveyed did not use CPGs for the management of AUB because they did not know that such guidelines existed. The majority were interested in further education on the management of AUB through mailed CPGs and locally held training courses. A major theme among respondents was the need for more timely and effective gynecological referrals.
Conclusion
A one-page diagnostic and treatment algorithm for AUB would be easy to use and would place minimal restrictions on physician autonomy. As the majority of physicians had Internet access, we recommend emailing and web posting in addition to mailing this algorithm. Local, hands-on courses including options for endometrial biopsy training would also be helpful for northern, rural and isolated physicians, many of whom cannot readily take time away from their practices.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-2-11
PMCID: PMC139968  PMID: 12443534

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