The big 10? Yes, if you’re over a woman over 40, you need to know the big 10…That is the 10 biggest health risks for women in your age group. Always be active in your own health care. Doctors aren’t perfect and it never hurts to remind them you need a screening.
Heart Disease: Women are tough. Maybe that’s one reason they often think, “I’ll be fine. It’s just part of getting older. I don’t have time for this!” Sound familiar? Heart disease is one of the biggest health risks for women 40 and over. According to the CDC, heart disease is accountable for over 25 percent of all female deaths! Know the risks and symptoms.
Breast Cancer: Women over forty are at a higher risk for some types of cancer. The risk for breast cancer according to the U.S. Department of Health for women aged 30 is .47 percent. By age 40, the risk is triple that number at 1.47 percent. The strongest risk factor for breast cancer is age. Although, there are other factors that increase risk as well including but not limited to smoking, long term hormone replacement therapy, and a family history of the disease.
Skin Cancer: Skin cancer risk also increases with age. The American Cancer Society reports that breast and skin cancer are the top cancers among women. Skin cancer risks increase with a history of sunburn or over exposure, family history, and fair skin.
Ovarian and Uterine Cancer: You are at an especially high risk if you have Lynch Syndrome or the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, breast cancer, pregnancy later in life, or hormone therapy for over five years. If you are a woman over 40 and haven’t had a pelvic exam in over a year; you need to schedule one. Unexplained bloating and cramping can be early warning signs.
Diabetes: USA Today reports that over 57 million Americans are pre-diabetic and without intervention it normally develops into full blown diabetes within a decade. One of the biggest risk factors…you guessed it…being over the age of 45. Burning, tingling, or numbness In your feet can be a sign of diabetes.
Stroke: Do women in their 40’s have strokes? Yes they do. One symptom, according to Dr. Oz, is being unable to “find” words for things. This could be a symptom of a mini stroke which is often a precursor for a major one.
Blood Clot in the Leg: This is a condition that strikes hundreds of thousands of people every year in the United States. According to USA Today, most of them are over the age of 40. If you ever experience pain and swelling in your calf and haven’t pulled a muscle, you may have a blood clot in your leg. Some other risk factors are hormones, birth control, surgery, and obesity.
Adult Asthma: I wasn’t aware of this one, but apparently this is a condition that can worsen as women enter midlife, according to Vincent Tubiolo, MD, of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology “If you cough only when you’re exercising or sleeping, that can indicate asthma.” While asthma isn’t normally an emergency, it can become life threatening and can progress.
Restless Leg Syndrome and Sleep Apnea: :”Many people think sleep apnea only affects overweight men, but it’s nearly as common in women after menopause,” says Lisa Shives, MD, of Northshore Sleep Medicine, in Evanston, Illinois. Like sleep apnea, RLS often worsens as you get older. Sleep apnea can be deadly and women entering midlife are at a greater risk for developing this disorder.
Respiratory Diseases: The Office on Women’s Health reports that chronic conditions like emphysema and chronic bronchitis are often problems in smokers over forty. However, women who have never smoked but are reaching this age may have been exposed to smoke before the laws became stricter concerning smoking in bars and restaurants.
Don’t Be Super Woman! Well, I take it back. You are Super Woman, but you don’t have to be all of the time! I thought I was and oh my gosh, was I ever wrong!
Ladies, take it from me (someone who experienced cancer before 40); these conditions can be deadly! I write these articles because I don’t want any other woman to do what I did. I pushed all of my “little physical ailments” to the side. I thought I was overworked, ‘just tired’, and stressed because I was raising two children, working, and going to college.
Now, I have a permanent colostomy, only a tiny piece of my colon, radiation almost killed me, I’ve had 1/3rd of my small intestine removed, I throw up daily, go to the bathroom about 20 times daily (which causes dehydration), suffer from malnutrition, and the list goes on. It’s really hard to deal with. Instead of suffering and possibly dying; just go get a really thorough checkup. Don’t ignore little symptoms. If you go to the doctor and it’s nothing; well…it’s better to be safe than sorry. Wishing you good health!
More from Carrie:
Living With Lynch Syndrome
I Won’t Buy Generic Drugs: FDA Useless in Protecting Average Americans
Does Cannabis Kill Cancer? Nobel Prize Winner Says Yes