Women often have a busy schedule nurturing their loved ones. However, they must be aware of the chronic health issues that are common in women as they approach their 40s. Especially for women who also work alongside taking care of their families, health sometimes takes a back seat.
The awareness of health problems promotes the importance of healthy lifestyle practices in being able to prevent them. So, in this article, we talk about the most common health conditions that have been affecting women for years now.
Women can experience several menstruation problems like extremely painful period cramps, late periods, heavy menstrual bleeding, missed or irregular periods, etc. In some cases, these symptoms may be associated and must not be overlooked since heavy bleeding can cause iron deficiency. So, if your periods last longer than 5 days, talk to your doctor about it.
Another common menstruation problem is a pre-menstruation syndrome (PMS), which affects almost 50% of all women of reproductive age. It causes mood swings, anxiety, constipation, nausea, swollen breasts, etc., a few days before the period.
The most complicated is PCOS, a metabolic and endocrine disorder that increases the risk of heart disease, acne, infertility, and type II diabetes.
So, if you experience any of the symptoms stated above, consult a specialist for a proper diagnosis.
Menopause is when a woman stops menstruating because of the changes in hormone levels. When women go through menopause, they experience several menopause symptoms along with the changes in their menstrual cycle, like hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain or loss, etc.
But it is a natural process that you can go through with more control over your health if you seek professional help. Your doctor can suggest menopause medication, and lifestyle changes to help you feel better.
Though the risk of diabetes is common in all age groups, women above 40 may be more likely to develop it. In fact, it is the number 6 killer of women in the age bracket 45 to 54. So, make it a priority to get health check-ups done at least twice a year so you can catch the issue early on and treat it.
It is also important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise your body to be able to reverse the effects of prediabetes.
Osteoporosis and osteopenia are both related to the strength of your bones. The terms are used to label how much your bones have weakened. Osteopenia is the first step toward osteoporosis, meaning your bone density has weakened but is not dangerous yet. Osteoporosis is a condition where a person's bones have weakened to the point where they break easily—most often, bones in the hip, spine, and wrist. Often causing a need for help with daily living activities.
Osteoporosis is typically common in women since it is a part of aging that may happen immediately after menopause. At its peak, osteoporosis can cause a 20% loss of bone in a decade. So, to prevent this health condition, make sure to get a lot of vitamin D, regular exercise, and good food when going into menopause.
Also, if you think you are more at risk, consult a professional and get your bone density checked. A bone density test will measure how strong your bones are today. A DXA scan (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) will measure the spine, hip, or total body. Women over 65 should always get scans regularly. However, younger women going through menopause, who have had stress fractures or unusual fractures, have a strong family history of osteoporosis, or have lost 1.5 inches from their previous height should discuss getting a scan with their doctor.
Did you know that women have more strokes than men? Sadly, women are less worried about it and do not know they may be at risk of a stroke in their 40s. Though healthy lifestyle habits play a significant role in preventing it, it is best to know what can be done to act quickly in case of a stroke.
Transient Ischemic Attack, customarily called a TIA, is where the brain suffers a temporary deficit in blood supply, and the ischemia causes stroke symptoms. Many younger women (and men) will have one or several TIAs. A stroke is a medical emergency, and it is a life-threatening condition that often causes disability and/or memory loss and the need for long-term health care. The symptoms of TIA and stroke are similar, but a person with a TIA will have their symptoms disappear within 24 hours.
Never ignore the signs of a stroke, even if the symptoms quickly disappear. You should go to the emergency room immediately. The warning signs of a stroke are known as FAST.
Face: One side of the face drooping may mean a stroke.
Ask: Ask the person to lift their arms up; if one can't be held up, it is likely a stroke.
Speech: If the person is not able to speak clearly or has slurred speech all of a sudden, it can be a stroke.
Time: If any of these symptoms are noticed, immediately take the individual to a hospital.
Do not attempt to drive yourself to the hospital even if your symptoms have disappeared.
The thyroid affects women twice as much as men. Hypothyroidism, a fairly common health problem in women, is associated with low thyroid levels, which causes the metabolism to slow down, causing tiredness and weight gain. On the other hand, high thyroid levels can also cause early onset of menopause, even earlier than 40 years.
Moreover, thyroid hormone levels also rise during pregnancy, causing up to 10% of women to suffer from postpartum thyroiditis. So, get your thyroid hormones tested and be proactive to ensure timely weight loss and weight gain prevention.
Slow Down of Physical Activity
Women often assume that all physical activities are naturally reduced in their 40s, including sex. But it shouldn't be like that. Get 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 times a week to keep yourself active and energetic. Even light cardio exercises will lower the risk of heart disease, increase sex drive, and prevent other health problems common among women.
Though anybody can experience one or more health conditions as they age, women often are more at risk for certain problems. Therefore, taking control of your health and being more proactive is important. In addition to seeing your doctor regularly, exercise daily, eat a balanced diet, and learn better stress management.
Your health in your 40s leads you to your 50s and beyond. It is natural to see some health issues as you get older. Being proactive will make your 50s and 60s healthier. Several health issues can start in your 40s and lead you into your 50s and 60s, including:
urinary tract infections
skin, cervical, and breast cancer
high blood pressure
depression and anxiety
Don't forget flu shots, tetanus boosters, and shingles vaccines. Discuss with your doctor the need and timing of these vaccinations. The goal of being and staying healthy and active in your 50s and 60s starts before you get to your 50s.
If you are older, it is not too late to take care of your health and stay in front of declining health and aging. It is much easier if you start being proactive ahead of time.
About the Author
Krishma Patel is the Co-founder and the Superintendent Pharmacist at MedsNow, an online pharmacy in the UK that provides health and wellness products and treatments and free online consultations.
Contributor since August 30th, 2022
Looking at yourself in the mirror, you probably notice that you have changed compared to when you were in your 20s. Aging is a reality we all have to deal with, like it or not. However, it doesn't have to be something scary. Being proactive with health and planning will make the aging process much easier.
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