Although the transition from our forties to fifties feels seamless, when it comes to our health, a handful of issues become much more noticeable. For example, the start of menopause and a slowing down of the body. Staying on top of important health matters can make these issues just a little easier to deal with.
1. A healthier heart
Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for women in the United States. About 1 in 16 women age 20 and older (6.2%) have coronary heart disease. Some risk factors for heart disease such as family history are unavoidable. But others aren’t. Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and stopping smoking all keep heart disease at bay. Consider your current lifestyle and think about steps you can take to keep your heart healthy.
2. Schedule your well woman exam
Book your yearly well-woman exam if you haven’t already. A well-woman exam is a preventative health exam that is used to look for signs of breast or gynecological disease. It’s also an opportunity to speak to your provider about any new health concerns you may have.
3. Getting through menopause
The vast majority of women will enter menopause or begin to notice its symptoms around this time. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age in the United States is fifty-one. Look out for the symptoms of menopause:
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Difficulty sleeping
- Night sweats
For women experiencing severe symptoms that start to interfere with their quality of life, make an appointment to see your provider. You can discuss management options and how best to deal with the symptoms.
4. Book your health screenings
Just as you did in previous years, continue with your health screenings. These should be tailored to your own medical history. Screenings to consider starting or to continue:
- Pap smears – A screening test for cervical cancer that is carried out every 3-5 years.
- Sexually transmitted Infections (STI’s) – Important to consider if starting a new relationship or for those who have had multiple sexual partners over a short period of time.
- Mammograms – Depending on your family history and personal medical history, a routine mammogram screening is recommended for women of this age group.
5. Exercise habits
Just as important as following a healthy diet, attending your screenings and booking a well-woman exam, is exercise. Experts recommend at least 20 minutes daily. Regular exercise can reduce the risk of diabetes, many types of cancer, improve your mood and help you sleep at night.