Health Checklist for Women Over 40
- Avoid weight gain but don’t cut out on meals.
- Cardio exercise can help you shed excess pounds.
- Get a bone mineral density test done to detect osteoporosis.
- Mammogram checks for breast cancer and should be taken every year.
Dress, check! Make-up, check! Shoes, check! Office presentation, check! Home chores, check! But did you check your health yet? Well, you must! Women in their 40s need to be proactive to stay fit and healthy beyond middle age.
A few health check-up for your overall health can help you detect any problems early and getting the right treatment for it. You must know what to look out for in terms of health to feel in the prime of your health and heave greater self-confidence than ever before.
Make a health checklist and paste it to your refrigerator for a gentle reminder about your health updates.
40s is a cruel age-range. Women who have been slim all their lives, may find themselves putting on pounds in their 40s. Ageing makes you to gain an average of a pound a year. With weight gain comes high blood pressure and diabetes.
The cons of weight gain don’t end just here. The hormones fall, this alters the fat distribution around the buttocks, upper thighs, and abdomen. You may call it the middle-age spread.
Do prevent weight gain, do not cut out on meals but make sure your calories work in the form of lean proteins, fruit and vegetables, and whole grains.
The 40s make your testosterone levels to fall- it is the hormone that helps maintain muscle mass. So, you need to challenge your muscle mass in order to prevent losing five pounds of it per decade as you age.
Cardio exercise can help you shed excess pounds or maintain your weight. But also include strength training too to build up lean muscle tissue. The general goal is to include at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day in your routine.
Build You Bone Strength
The biggest health risk for women in their 40s is osteoporosis; you can feel your bones going thin because of lower hormone levels.
The lifetime risk of osteoporosis for women is almost 50 per cent and in men is 20 per cent. Eating a balanced diet and doing regular weight –bearing exercises can help treat the condition and possibly reduce its effects.
To detect osteoporosis, one must get a bone mineral density test done which is an indicator of bone strength and osteoporosis risk. Women with previous fragility fractures; a family history of osteoporosis; on medications that cause bone loss; or have problems with calcium absorption should get this test done for sure with their doctor’s discretion.
Control Stress and Anxiety
Age brings in stress with it. Women in their 40s need to need to be supreme jugglers, often balancing the needs of a job, children and ageing parents.
Make time for yourself to beat stress and anxiety. Relax and take good care of yourself like you care for your dear ones.
Keep Your Heart Healthy
It is important to keep coronary risk factors as low as possible because heart disease is the biggest killer. Quit smoking if you so; smoking is the biggest risk factor for heart disease. With this, maintain an ideal weight, follow a healthy diet and take regular exercise.
To make sure you do not suffer from any heart ailments, take the following tests:
Blood cholesterol test- High cholesterol is associated with increased risk of heart disease. This test measures amount of total cholesterol, "bad" LDL, and "good" HDL cholesterol circulating in the blood. Levels of triglycerides, another blood fat, are also usually checked. It should be taken every 5 years starting at the age of 20.
Blood pressure check- It measures blood pressure, an indicator of heart risk. Check your blood pressure at least every other year starting at the age of 18.
Fasting plasma glucose- It measures blood sugar, an indicator of diabetes risk. Get it done every three years if in normal range or at your doctor's discretion at the age of 45, or younger if you are overweight and have other risk factors.
Keep a Tab on Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is the 11th most common cancer among women in the UK but cervical screening saves approximately 4,500 lives per year in England. To get screened for cervical cancer take the following tests:
Pap smear and pelvic exam- It checks for cervical cancer and you should take it every three years, or as recommended by your doctor, starting from the age of 21.
Pap smear plus HPV DNA test and pelvic exam- Some experts recommend this test as more precise means to check for cervical cancer. You can get screened for it every five years after the age of 30.
Beware of Breast Cancer
One in eight women is at the risk of getting breast cancer and age 40 makes the disease more common. In fact, the majority of breast cancers (80 per cent) occur in women over the age of 50.
With a family history of breast cancer you should commence screening 10 years before the age your relative was diagnosed. Tests that diagnose breast cancer are:
Mammogram- It checks for breast cancer and should be taken every 1 to 2 years, depending on your risk. You should start at age 40-50 or earlier with certain risk factors.
Doctor’s Breast Exam- It may detect breast cancers missed by mammography. If you are in your 40s, take this test annually; if younger, you can get screened for it every three years.
Finally, being self-aware and doing self-health checks is the vital first stage as it will help detect symptoms which could indicate more significant health problems. Make a note if anything about your health doesn’t seem normal. Speak to your doctor early so that the symptoms can be fully assessed.
Read more articles on Mammography.
Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Feb 16, 2014
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