The decade of our 40s can be a crucial turning point in our health. We may begin developing higher risks for serious health issues. It is more important than ever to control our weight, eat healthy diets, and exercise. These are the building blocks to maintaining our health and lessening our health risks as we age.
It becomes even more important to watch our weight once we hit our 40s. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease are all higher risks with weight gain. In our 40s, our metabolism changes and it can become more difficult to lose weight.
Osteoporosis can strike at any age, but once we hit our 40s bone density begins to decrease due to lower hormone levels. Weight-bearing exercises and healthy diet changes are the best ways to slow down the loss of bone density.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. The risk factors for heart disease increase in our 40s, as high blood pressure and high cholesterol become harder to fight. To lower these risks we should quit smoking, eat less salt, get moderate exercise, and cut out fatty foods.
Stress & Anxiety
The 40s can be a difficult and stressful time for women. At this point in life, it can be common to be a caregiver for both children and aging parents. Juggling work and family obligations can be overwhelming and raise our stress and anxiety levels. A relaxing bath, a trip to a day spa, or even just a 15-minute time-out can reduce stress.
After the age of 40, the risk of getting breast cancer increases. According to the National Cancer Institute, the lifetime risk of a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer is one in seven. The main risk factors are gender, increasing age, and family history. A yearly mammogram beginning at age 40 will help with early detection.
Our vision and eye health begin to change once we hit our 40s. The risk of glaucoma increases beginning in our 40s. Glaucoma is a serious eye condition caused by high-pressure fluid build-up within the eyeball that can lead to loss of vision. It is important to get regular eye exams beginning in our 40s, even if our vision remains clear.
According to Netdoctor, up to 70 percent of strokes are directly linked to high blood pressure. Women also have some unique risk factors. These include taking birth control pills, pregnancy, and using Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
Many women believe that once we turn 40, we no longer need birth control because we cannot get pregnant. Unintended pregnancies are common to women over the age of 40. Pregnancy over the age of 40 carries more risks to both the mother and child, but can still be healthy.
As we age into our 40s, we are more likely to develop diabetes. Decreasing hormone levels make it more difficult to lose weight. Weight control through a healthy diet and moderate exercise is important for preventing diabetes.
Cervical & Ovarian Cancer
Cervical cancer and ovarian cancer risks increase with age. After having children, we may still get cervical cancer. It is important to continue to get pap smears throughout our adult lives up to the age of 60. The risk of ovarian cancer also increases as we age, and the risk is higher for women who have not had children.
It is important that we talk to our doctor about any changes or symptoms we may be experiencing. That is the best way to prevent or diagnose any health issues.