Working women are living busy lives, being “Superwoman” -picking up the household chores and feeding their family. Managing the finances, dealing with emergencies and everyday stressors. This increases the health risks even younger. Doctors now recommend women now start monitoring at age 40 instead of age 50 as was previous taught.
The top ten risk factors for women in their forties are :
Stroke can present with a severe headache, numbness in the face or a limb, trouble with coordination or walking, drooping of the facial muscles, difficulty with speech or understanding and vision deficits.
More women than men may actually have symptoms of stroke according to The National Stroke Association; Women in Your Life; www.stroke.org
A transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke, has nearly the same symptoms of a stroke, but the symptoms may not persist beyond 24 hours. Time if the most important factor in treating stroke or TIA. The quicker you get medical treatment, the better your chances for recovery.
Heart disease is now the leading cause of death for women in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Women and Heart Disease Fact Sheet; www.cdc.gov accounting for about 28.6% of deaths in women (51% of all heart disease related deaths).
Signs and symptoms of heart disease include prolonged or recurring pressure or pain in the chest or other areas of the upper body, shortness of breath, cold sweat, nausea or becoming light-headed. The most common cause of heart attacks is coronary artery obstruction- where a clot builds on the wall of an artery causing a blockage of blood flow to the muscle of the heart.
Cancer is often missed in the busy lives of working women. It is also important to see your doctor regularly and begin the appropriate screenings, such as getting your pap test, breast exam, mammogram and colon check.
Web MD lists the following tool for thinking about cancer signs and symptoms:
The American Cancer Society uses the word C-A-U-T-I-O-N to help recognize the seven early signs of cancer:
Change in bowel or bladder habits
A sore that does not heal
Unusual bleeding or discharge
Thickening or lump in the breast, testicles, or elsewhere
Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
Obvious change in the size, color, shape, or thickness of a wart, mole, or mouth sore
Nagging cough or hoarseness
Diabetes happens when the body can’t maintain the level of sugar in the blood.
Signs and symptoms of diabetes are: frequent urination, increased thirst , weight loss, unexplained fatigue, blurry vision, nausea, numbness or tingling in the feet or frequent infections. It is important to have your doctor check blood sugar levels as a routine as you get older.
The development of uterine fibroids (non-cancerous tumors) or a hyperplasia (thickening of the uterine lining) is a common problem for women in their 40 as the hormone levels change. Signs include missed or irregular periods, heavy bleeding, chronic pelvic pain and infertility.
Loss of bone density-osteoporosis- becomes more common as our body changes. There are often no outward symptoms and we don’t find out until we experience a fracture.
- · Avoid caffeine and alcohol
- · Do weight bearing exercise
- · Take HRT’s if recommended by your doctor
Women often feel that they are no longer at risk for pregnancy once they reach age 40. Women are still able to become pregnant going through the menopausal cycle. In addition to the risks for birth defects, premature delivery and stillbirth of baby, there are health risks to the mother becoming pregnant after 40.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the progressive and irreversible blocking of the airways in the lungs that usually happens with emphysema or chronic bronchitis according to DuoNeb; Diagnosing COPD; www.duoneb.com
Frequent infections, a chronic cough and shortness of breath are symptoms of COPD. The highest risk factor is smoking. Options for quitting smoking through the American Cancer Society or your doctor.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure becomes more likely to occur as we age. It can be a contributing factor in many other disease processes. Signs and symptoms of high blood pressure may include headache, dizziness, being short of breath and blurry vision. Maintaining a healthy weight, reducing salt intake.
High Cholesterol can only be detected with a blood test. There are two types of elevated cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). Treatment includes both diet change and medication.
Doctors recommend making these life changes at 40 rather than waiting to age 50.