This article is the second part of a two-part feature discussing health issues experienced by women across all ages. To read the first part, click here.
In Your 40s
These days, 40 doesn’t mean wrinkles, crows feet around the eyes, and sagging skin. Rather, we see women at this age work harder than ever to maintain a great physical appearance and take better care of their health.
But no matter how good someone looks on the outside, this doesn’t mean that they don’t face internal health problems. Here are some of the most common health issues women in their 40s face today.
Keeping tabs on your breast health and self-exams should be done by women of all ages, but women in their 40s should take extra care. When you reach the age of 40, make sure you schedule an annual preventive health exam.
Just like any illness or disease, early detection can make it possible for you to try many treatment options that won’t have destructive side effects to your body. It’s also important to look into the risk factors in order to decrease your risk of getting a potentially fatal illness.
Cardiovascular diseases affect one-third of men and women in their 40s. The risk also increases with age, and it’s well-known that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
These include arrhythmia, hypertension, stroke, congenital heart diseases, arteriosclerosis, and coronary heart disease.
Remember that most health issues can be avoided if you can make healthy changes to your lifestyle. This means maintaining a healthy weight, quit smoking, reduce your alcohol intake, take time to exercise, and eat a high fiber diet.
To prevent heart attack and stroke, it’s helpful to get your blood pressure under control. You can do this by reducing your sodium and salt intake. Avoid frozen, packaged food. Quit fast food, and eat more home-cooked meals with freshly prepared ingredients that are good for the heart.
This stage in life is characterized by emotional, physical, and psychological changes. This is due to a decrease in the estrogen levels in your body. At this stage, your period might get heavier, longer, shorter, and lighter than your normal cycle.
You might also miss a period and have your regular period come back a month later. Other symptoms include a lower sex drive, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and hot flashes.
But that’s not all – your mental health can take a hit, too. This stage in your life can feel overwhelming and maybe you’ll end up feeling like you’ve hit the age where it’s too late to do anything else with your life, but it’s important to remember that it’s not the case! Keep your mind and body in check by meditating, working out regularly, and sticking to a healthy diet.
At this point, you’re going to feel your metabolism get slower because when your body begins its transition to menopause it will generally cause all your weight to ship from your thighs and hips and instead to your upper body.
In Your 50s
Contrary to popular belief, aging doesn’t mean we stop producing brain cells. In truth, the growth of our brain cells continue up until our 60s, so our ability to learn new things is still a huge possibility!
Some people might start doing things and forget about why they’re doing it or why they’re in a certain place for a split-second. This happens because the nerve impulses in our brain cells slow down. If this happens frequently, however, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
The problem with aging is that people have a harder time accessing and recalling memories. Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly actually have a bigger hippocampus. Quick study: it’s the region of the brain that’s responsible for storing memories and enabling our capacity to learn. Basically, it’s what keeps our minds (and memories) sharp.
One in every 20 people is at risk of developing colon cancer in their lifetime. It’s the third most commonly diagnosed form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death.
It often doesn’t pose any symptoms, so regular screening is important. If you have a family member who has been diagnosed with the disease, it’s important to take screenings before screenings. However, most people diagnosed with colorectal cancer often have no family history of the disease.
The risk increases with age, and about 91% of patients diagnosed are aged 50 and older. While the cases in these adults have declined over the years thanks to screenings and tests, there’s an increasing risk of developing colorectal cancer for those under 50.
Our bodies start to slow down at this age, which can also affect how good our immune system is at fighting illness and disease. Remember to take a lot of fruits, vegetables, and foods. Know which vitamins and minerals your body can absorb through food and which ones you can help fill the nutritional gap with supplements.