For women, turning 40 is now the new 30. Staying up-to-date on your health will be a major factor in maintaining longevity. Aging anxieties aside, many women become more confident, less self-critical and start to enjoy greater stability in their lives than ever before.
As you celebrate life after 40, we will inform you as to the questions you will need to ask your doctor during your annual checkup. If you are a mother, there is a possibility that your child(ren) is off to college. Women deal with a lot of mental challenges in regards to work, home, and physical being. Breast cancer, menopause, weight gain, and mental state should all be top priorities while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Question #1: Weight Gain?
Many women go through weight gain during pregnancy. At times, many women continue to gain weight after giving birth and leads to a poor diet for years to come. It’s important to know your healthy weight for your age and height. It’s common for women to gain weight after turning 40 as the metabolism slows and estrogen levels drop. Women can have an especially difficult time controlling their weight after menopause. Once you hit 40, your resting metabolic rate—the amount of calories your body burns while sitting or lying down—slows by 5 percent each decade. That means women need to consume fewer and fewer calories if they want to maintain their weight.
Question #2: Menopause?
We believe a majority of women dread heading into the menopause stage of their life. Menopause brings on all sorts of changes for women. Risk factors that didn’t cause any problems in your 30s can begin taking their toll. Your odds of developing heart disease and osteoporosis suddenly spike.
Many women will need to make lifestyle adjustments as well as ramp up their preventive healthcare routine once menopause hits. Some may choose hormone replacement therapy to alleviate the symptoms of menopause as well as reduce their heart attack risk. Whether you decide to go that route or not, it’s worth having a conversation with your doctor to make sure you understand the signs of menopause, what to expect once it occurs, and what your options are for staying healthy and active.
Question #3: Is my heart healthy?
Equally as important for men and women. Knowing if your heart is healthy is a vital indicator of how healthy your body is. Are you overweight? What does your diet consist of? How do you deal with stress on a daily basis? In addition to healthcare screenings, it’s helpful to have a conversation with your primary care physician about what risk factors you have for heart disease—such as poor nutrition, lack of exercise and smoking—and how to limit them. Some women in their 40s even begin taking a daily aspirin to help prevent heart attacks and strokes, but not all women should. If you have stomach ulcers or blood-clotting issues, your doctor may advise against it.
Question #4: Do I need to be on supplements?
Making sure you receive the correct vitamins is very important to a women’s health. Common supplements for women over 40 include: Vitamin Calcium-Magnesium, Multivitamin, and Omega-3. Talk to your doctor about which of these might be right for you.
Question #5: How often should I visit the doctor?
Once a year should suffice for the average woman. Do you have other health factors? Is cancer common in your family? Do you smoke? Recommended health screenings for women change once they reach their 40s. That’s when regular mammograms get added to the list and checking for high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol become especially important. With 50 approaching, it’s also time to start thinking about colorectal cancer screenings such as colonoscopies and fecal occult blood tests.