While many women think they are in the prime of their lives in their 40s, but new research shows that this is a decade that often leads to great changes in a woman’s body. It is now known that the risks of disease starts to markedly increase as a woman enters this time in her life.
Many of the health changes women experience have to do with the life cycle changes that occur during menopause. As a woman enters her mid to late 40s, there is an increased risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, breast and cervical cancer, stroke, and high blood pressure. The cycle of change begins with a shift in hormones that can significantly alter certain bodily functions.
According to healthywomen.org, two of the main concerns for women who are post-menopausal are Osteoporosis and Coronary Artery Disease. Both of these are caused by a reduction in estrogen levels. Additionally, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that women get a mammogram every other year once they near the age of 50. This is done to ward off potential invasive breast cancer which escalates in risk as a woman ages. This research shows that an estimated that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. Since early detection is key to survival, it is important to be attentive to get regular screenings.
In other revelations, according to menopausematters.co.uk, women are more likely to be obese than men after the age of 45. This factor increases the risk for Diabetes and High Blood Pressure which elevates the risk for stroke and heart disease as well as High Cholesterol.
Women in their 40s are also encouraged to get regular health checkups and to monitor any changes in their body beyond the normal symptoms of menopause. Because women suffer from heart disease in a different way than men, the symptoms are different. While men are more prone to Cardio Vascular Disease, which is blockage of the main arteries, women often see the first signs of heart disease in the small arteries because of a condition known as Micro-Vascular Heart Disease.
Heart Disease is the number one cause of death among women. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) noted that 292,188 women died of heart disease in 2009. Some of these deaths could have certainly been preventable if these women were more informed and had better health care from medical doctors that are more familiar with treating heart disease in women.