The 40s are considered a ‘transitional’ time when one is moving from mature adulthood to the ‘midlife’ period. For women, this can be a time of various changes within the body and many health risks can arise.
It is recommended that you contact your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your physical, mental or emotional health.
Below are the top ten health concerns for women in their forties:
The average age for a woman to experience menopause is 51, but that is not the age for every woman. Typically, women in their 40’s typically experience the pre-menopause period called perimenopause in which they may be experiencing symptoms such as mood swings, hot flashes, and insomnia among others.
2. Excessive Weight Gain
Many women are concerned about their weight, but a sudden gain of excessive weight may be a sign of an underlying health issue such as hypothyroidism (underacting thyroid gland). However what seems like sudden weight gain may only be the natural aging process. As you age your metabolism slows, estrogen levels drop and muscle mass diminishes, making it easier for weight gain to be noticeable.
The risk for type 2 diabetes increases with age. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 26 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and about 14 percent of people between the ages of 45 and 64 have been diagnosed or have the disease but don’t know it,” states HealthCommunities.com.
4. Heart Problems
Many cardiovascular problems increase with age due to fluctuating levels in blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol and homocysteine. These fluctuations can bring on risks such as heart attack and stroke or can be signs of other forms of cardiovascular disease.
5. Aches and Pains
As we age, it’s common to experience an increase of aches and pains. From years of wear and tear and overuse our bodies develop arthritic conditions like tendonitis and rheumatoid.
6. Skin Problems
Found a mole? Concerned about adult acne, wrinkles or age spots? These are common concerns for women in their forties. Some of these may simply be cosmetic concerns others such as irregular shaped moles may be more alarming and could signify a form of cancer, which should be checked out by your doctor.
Stress affects us at any age, however concerns that begin to plague us as we reach the ‘midlife’ area, can be overwhelming. Women at this time can be susceptible to higher levels of anxiety and depression.
8. Unwanted Pregnancy
Many women in their 40’s erroneously believe that as they approach menopause they can’t conceive children. Due to this misconception many women opt out of birth control options, giving women over 40 the highest rate of unintended pregnancy and abortions next to teens.
9. Breast Cancer
SheKnows.com Health & Wellness suggest, “Breast self exams are recommended for women of all ages; however, mammograms should be a part of a yearly preventative health schedule for women over 40”.
Healthywomen.org advises you to get screened for bone mineral density if you have an increased risk of Osteoporosis. Certain medications or other health issues may cause bone loss so be sure to check with your health provider if you have any concerns in those areas.
- SheKnows.com Health & Wellness
- Dr. Oz: Five Questions Women Over 40 Must Ask Their Doctor
- HealthCommunities.com: Healthy Living in Your 40s