Women in their 40s often go through many physical changes, especially if they are going through the stages of menopause. While we may all think of menopause as the biggest challenge women in their 40s face, there are a number of diseases that pose a significant health risk to women in their 40s as well. Here are 10 of the biggest health risks that women face in their 40s, and how women might be able to mitigate the risks associated with each disease.
Heart disease is a killer of men and women in their 40s, but the risk is slightly higher for women, especially if there is a history of heart disease in the family. Obviously heart disease is a huge issue because it can lead to strokes and heart attacks, and also lead to congestive heart failure. One of the biggest risks for heart disease is smoking, so it is important that a woman in her 40s quit smoking, and begin leading a healthier lifestyle overall. Eating a diet full of fruits a vegetables, getting regular exercise, and also cutting out or down alcohol consumption can all help mitigate heart disease for women.
Every woman deals with stress throughout their lifetime, but stress can be a huge health risk for a woman in her 40s. Stress increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke, and can also lead to high blood pressure or anxiety and depression. Not to mention, being stressed out can lead to weight gain and can impact personal relationships that are very important to a woman in her 40s. One way to manage stress is to exercise four times a week or partake in an activity like meditation or yoga, which can help reduce stress, and lead to feeling physically and mentally more healthy.
It don’t matter how skinny you were in your younger years, because women in their 40s just naturally gain weight. Obesity or even just simple weight gain can pose a serious health risk to women, especially if there is a history of cardiovascular disease in their family. Weight gain can be attributed to a number of things including childbirth and peri-menopause or menopause, and also various hormone changes going on at this time. You can mitigate your risk of obesity or weight gain by eating a healthy diet, exercising four times a week, and also limiting empty calories.
One common health risk that women in their 40s will begin to face is osteoporosis, which can lead to bone breaks, fractures, and overall loss of bone density. Osteoporosis occurs in the 40s, since that is when the bones begin to thin out due to hormonal changes in the body. Eating a healthy diet, exercising with a focus on strength training, and getting enough vitamin D can all help to mitigate osteoporosis. You can also take shots and various medications specifically designed to stop the progression of osteoporosis, but you still need to focus on building muscle strength even with the medications.
A woman can get cervical cancer at any age, but like many other cancers, the risk increases as you get older. One reason why cervical cancer is a huge health risk for women in their 40s is because they forget they still need annual pap smears, which are used to detect changes and abnormal cells within the cervix. Even if you have gone through menopause and are done having children, you still need to get an annual pap smear done to ensure that there is nothing potentially serious going on. This is especially true for women who have a family history of cervical cancer or women who were diagnosed with HPV.
One of the most common types of cancer to impact women in their 40s is breast cancer, and this is a potentially deadly cancer if not treated immediately. If a woman knows someone in her family had breast cancer, she should be getting screened yearly after the age of 40, and doing self-examinations every couple months. Breast cancer can be treated if caught early enough, so staying on top of any changes or lumps is crucial, and can save your life.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is fairly common for women in their 40s, but it can be life-threatening because it can lead to cardiovascular diseases or a stroke. Obviously, high blood pressure is a huge threat because as the numbers rise, the risk for a stroke or heart attack increases. High blood pressure can be attributed to eating too much salt, so lowering your salt intake can decrease the risk of the disease. You also want to eat healthy and exercise at least three times a week, as well as try to reduce stress as much as possible. Smoking can also be a cause of high blood pressure, so women over 40 should not smoke, and should try to quit as soon as possible if they do smoke.
Women in their 40s experience a number of eye changes, some of which might be serious like glaucoma. Glaucoma impacts the fluid pressure within the eyeball, and can lead to changes in vision or even blindness. One way that women can mitigate this risk is to get yearly eye examinations, which can also be helpful in detecting other eye conditions.
One of the most likely health risks a women in her 40s will face is a stroke, which can be caused by high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. A stroke can lead to permanent paralysis on one side of the body, and can even be fatal if severe enough. A stroke can also impact various brain functions, interfere with concentration and memory, and usually increase in intensity over time. In order to reduce the risk of a stroke, women in their 40s should exercise four times a week, eat a healthy and balanced diet, consume less alcohol, and also stop smoking.
High cholesterol is one of the biggest health risks to a woman in her 40s, and leads to an increased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. In order to lower your cholesterol, you need to cut out fatty foods, especially animal fats, and also lose weight if you are overweight. Medications such as statins might also be prescribed if you cannot lower your cholesterol on your own, but even that won’t completely reduce the numbers.