Articles from February 2010

Women’s Health Issues

Women over 40 face enormous changes in their lives.  Not only might they be dealing with challenges like balancing a career, family, and aging parents, but  health issues become more prominent and a more important focus at this age. In fact, depending on how well you have taken care of yourself, health issues will probably be one of the top concerns facing women over 40.  Menopause, cancer, fitness, weight management, stress, nutrition, osteoporosis, changing metabolism…these are all health issues faced by women in their 40′s and older.

By age 40, most women have entered or are about to enter a state of perimenopause  (a pre menopausal state in which ovaries’ production of hormones becomes irregular).  During perimenopause,  women’s health issues like osteoporosis, certain cancers, including breast and colon cancer, and heart disease become more prevalent.

One of the best preventative measures women over 40 can take to combat health issues is develop a fitness regimen that includes weight training, flexibility, and aerobic exercise. Not only will this keep your heart healthy but it also improves joint strength and flexibility as well as improving bone density.  Maintaining a healthy weight is directly linked to lower cancer risks as well.

If you smoke, quitting now can improve your life and cut your risk of cancer significantly.  Women who smoke have double the risk of dying from cancer and heart disease; women who smoke and take hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills also increase their chances of serious illness from a stroke or blood clot.

At age 40, all women should begin having regular, annual mammograms.  Most women don’t, out of fear. My own experience was that while it was uncomfortable, let’s face it someone is trying to turn your breasts into pancakes, it really was not painful.  I understand from friends with larger breasts that it’s actually more than just uncomfortable for them.  So let’s get that out of the way and move on, a mammogram may hurt, but breast cancer is one of the most serious  health issue facing women today, and early detection can make the difference between surviving and not.  By age 50, all women should have a colonoscopy.  Colon cancer, like breast cancer, can be highly treatable if caught early.

No matter what health issues concern you, whether your eyesight is failing or you have high cholesterol, eating a healthy diet and incorporating fitness into your lifestyle will make a difference.  Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women over 40.  It is critical that women in this age group get up, get moving, and work out regularly to prevent health concerns from becoming an overshadowing component of  your life.  Exercise and nutrition are the keys to keeping your 40+ body and mind as young as possible.

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