Heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer are common concerns for aging women, but did you know that unintended pregnancy is a top health concern, too? If you are nearing or over 40, keep the following health issues in mind.
Breast self exams are recommended for women of all ages; however, mammograms should be a part of a yearly preventative health schedule for women over 40. Early detection of breast cancer means more conservative treatment options. In addition to regular checkups, understanding your risk factors can help you make changes in your lifestyle to reduce your chances of becoming a statistic and developing this potentially fatal disease.
This potentially debilitating bone disease has become more of a health concern for all women, not just older ladies. Women are four times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis, and it can strike at any age. If you have a family history of osteoporosis or broken bones, are thin and small framed, have irregular periods or are entering early menopause, and are Caucasian, Asian or Latino, talk to your doctor about a bone density test or DEXA scan. Diet changes, weight bearing exercise and early detection of weak bones can prevent fractures and the progression of the disease.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women, eclipsing other health threats such as cancer. Women should discuss blood pressure and cholesterol testing at their annual physical, especially if there is a history of heart disease within their families.
Some health tips to consider:
Diet and exercise are important in every stage of life, but even more after 40. Here are some of the quick tips for optimal health.
- Reassess your diet to maintain a healthy weight. “Women should reassess their calorie intake after 40 and should make adjustments to their diets based on their activity levels.”
- Bone up on calcium. Women over 40 need to increase their focus on calcium intake. “Without real effort, most women fall short of the recommended daily allowance for calcium and would benefit from a supplement.”
- Do weight bearing activity. Exercise can help keep leading factors of heart disease at bay, and keep bones and muscles strong — which is extremely important as women enter perimenopause. In addition to cardio exercise weight bearing activities improve bone strength.
- Rally your friends and family. Women starting an exercise program should try a buddy system for motivation and fun.
- Don’t be last in line. Women tend to place the needs of their family ahead of their own, but when it comes to health, women need to make themselves a priority.
- Don’t skip doctor’s visits. Women should know what screenings are recommended for their age group. This information can be provided by their physician or found online.The medical specialist also advises that women prepare a list of questions for their healthcare providers and get answers for all of their health concerns.
- Keeps tabs on everyone. A family health record is a good way for women and their families to stay on track with their health. Keeping a tabbed binder with physician contact lists, an appointment schedule, allergies, medications and a list of past medical procedures can be helpful.
Taking steps to better your health will help you be your most radiant and beautiful regardless of your age.