When you turn fifty, your doctor may suggest you do some extra things to stay healthy and to avoid being at risk for some very serious conditions. Here are the top ten health risks for women over the age of fifty.
Breast Cancer is one of the leading killers of women in the US and the chance of it developing increases as you get older. It’s important that you do your at home breast exams and feel for any lumps or noticeable changes. You can see how to do an at home breast exam at this website:http://www.fwhc.org/health/self-breast-exam.htm
It is important to get checked by your doctor yearly for breast cancer and get your mammograms done regularly. If by chance you DO find something, the sooner you discover it, the better chances you have at fighting it!
Cervical Cancer is another risk but can easily be looked for and caught if you have your annual pap smears on time. While it’s not something women look forward to, it’s imperative that it gets done. Consult your doctor about any questions or problems you think you might be having.
High Blood Pressure is something to look for as well. High blood pressure can cause problems from headaches to strokes so it is important to be on top of the game when it comes to this. If you don’t have one at home, you can purchase a small, affordable blood pressure machine or many stores such as Walmart or Kmart offer machines where you can get your blood pressure checked. If you normally have lower blood pressure and it creeps up even just a little, you need to call your doctor and just make sure it’s okay.
If by chance you do run a high blood pressure another risk to look for is Diabetes. There are a few different symptoms of this, one of which is overlooked often, being very thirsty. People just contribute the extra thirst to the weather or activity they have done. Keep an eye on these little symptoms because they could lead to something bigger. A simple blood test done at your doctors’ office can conclude if you are at risk for Diabetes.
Depression can affect all people of all ages, and there is an increased number of women over the age of 50 being diagnosed as depressed. If you’re feeling blue, down in the dumps, angry, sad, can’t eat or sleep, and it continues for more than two weeks, you might not just be in a funk, it might be actual depression. It’s important to call your doctor. He/She can determine a good route for you to take. They might suggest an anti-depressant, counseling, or exercise and meditation.
HIV is something that people over 50 often dismiss happening to them because they see it as a younger persons disease but in actuality, HIV is spreading among those over 50 at a rapid rate because of this thought process. If you are not in a monogamous relationship and you have had unprotected sexual relations with someone, you need to call your doctor and request an HIV test. It’s a very scary thing, but also a very real problem, so it’s better to know the truth than suffer in the ignorance.
While on the subject, if you are getting checked for HIV, you might want to be checked for other Sexually Transmitted Infections as well. Any time you have un-protected sex, you need to be checked. You could be at risk for not only HIV but things such as HPV, Herpes, and other sexually transmitted diseases. Talk to your doctor and they will tell you what tests they need to run.
High Cholesterol is another risk to watch for. When you go to your doctor for your annual checkup, request to know your cholesterol count, and talk to your doctor on how you can keep it down, and if it is high, how you can lower it. They might suggest a change in diet or a pill to help manage it.
Colon Cancer is something else to watch for. Especially if you have had relatives who have had colon cancer, you need to consult with your doctor on what to watch out for, if you need tested etc. He/She can help you determine how high a risk you run of getting it. If you have indulged in heavy drinking, you need to watch for this as well.
Osteoporosis or bone thinning is a common factor in women over the age of 50. While some don’t suggest a bone density test till you’re 65, your doctor might want you to get one done at 50. Usually they will tell you to get it done every two years after this.