They say being 50 is now the new 40. That’s nice to hear the age is getting younger by each decade to soothe one’s ego, but the body knows its chronology. Yes, every body is different. Some women are more prone to health risks than others due to family history, ethnicity, environment, and additional unsuspecting factors. However, it is a very good idea to have the awareness, information, and prevention on hand concerning health risks, so you can stay healthy not only physically, but emotionally, mentally, and psychologically too. When all of those areas are aligned the chances for women over 50 to have excellent health is not at all unrealistic.
This will be a guide to the Top Ten health risks for women over the age of 50. The information presented will comprise of what are these health risks, the steps you can take, and screening information to give you peace of mind. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality here is a compiled list of what they find to be at risk.
The 10 Health Risks
10.) Osteoporosis (Bone Thinning) – A condition where your bones become weak, making it more likely for you to break a bone. There are no symptoms to watch out for until you break a bone. The National Women’s Health Information Center further adds you have a greater chance of osteoporosis if you are female, small boned, and have a history of osteoporosis in your family,
9.) Depression – Women over 50 will inevitably reach menopause, one of the many causes of depression is menopause, along with a family history in which it is inherited, or with no history of it at all.
8.) High Cholesterol – A fatty substance present in all parts of the body. LDL or low density lipoprotein is harmful, sometimes known as “bad cholesterol”. HDL or high density lipoprotein is good for your health, known as “good cholesterol”.
7.) High Blood Pressure – Sometimes known as Hypertension, it’s having blood pressure at 140 over 90 mmHg (millimeters of mercury).
6.) Obesity – Over 60 percent of adult women in the U.S. are overweight based on the 2007 estimates from the National Center for Health Statistics of the Center for the Disease Control and Prevention. A little over one-third of adult women are obese. Some of the causes are eating bigger portions with lots of calories in it, sedentary lifestyle, little to no exercise, genetics, and environmental and cultural influences.
5.) Diabetes – When your blood glucose (sugar) is too high. There are actually three types of diabetes, but Type 1 and Type 2 are the most commonly known. The third type, Gestational, occurs during pregnancy. Type 2 is the most common type and can occur at any age, especially those who are older and overweight.
4.) Cervical Cancer – It is cancer of the cervix, the lower narrower part of the uterus (womb). Any woman who has had genital contact with another person can get HPV, human papillomavirus, the cause of cervical cancer. Your risk of getting this cancer is high if you smoke.
3.) Colorectal Cancer – This is cancer starting in the colon and/or rectum, because they come from the large intestine (or the large bowel). It is the third most common non-skin cancer in women and men as well as the third leading cause of cancer death. Oftentimes called the “silent’ disease, because the symptoms do not show up until it is too difficult to cure. Colorectal Cancer is found most often in people over 50.
2.) Breast Cancer – The most common cancer in American women. 1 in 8 women will find out she has breast cancer at some time in her life. This disease occurs when cells become abnormal, then forming other cells in an uncontrolled manner, which leads to forming masses of tissues called a tumor.
Heart Disease – According to the University of Washington’s Women’s Health about 8 million women in the U.S. are living with heart disease and 440,000 have heart attacks every years. About 9,000 of those women are under the age of 45. Women in general are less likely to get heart disease until menopause. It is believed the female hormone, estrogen, provides protection to the heart until menopause.
The Steps You Can Take
The AHRQ, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality have five steps you can take for a healthy life ahead at age 50 and beyond.
1.) Be Tobacco Free – Call the National Quitline at 1-800-QUITNOW.
2.) Be Physically Active – Walk briskly, mow the lawn, swim, dance, do anything to keep you active.
3.) Eat a Healthy Diet – Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat or fat-free milk.
4.) Stay at a Healthy Weight – Balance the calories you take in and burn them off with your physical activities.
5.) If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation – Have no more than one drink a day.
Important Screening Information
1.) Heart Disease – Get your blood pressure checked every two years and your cholesterol checked regularly.
2.) Breast Cancer – Schedule a mammogram every 1 to 2 years.
3.) Colorectal Cancer – Your doctor can decide what test is right for you.
4.) Cervical Cancer – Have a Pap Smear every 1 to 3 years.
5.) Depression – Talk to your doctor about being screened for depression if you suddently feel overwhelming sadness or hopeless.
6.) Diabetes – Get a blood test for diabetes, especially if you have high blood pressure.
7.) Obesity – Have your body mass index (BMI) calculated and screened for obesity.
8.) Osteoporosis – The ages from 50 to 64 talk to your doctor about being tested.
Francis Bacon was quoted as saying “knowledge is power”. That is so very true, because at your fingertips is a wealth of knowledge on having excellent health throughout the rest of your life for women over 50.