People are living longer than ever before, thanks to advances in healthcare, higher standards of living, and awareness of the risks of bad habits such as smoking and drinking. By 2030, it’s projected that women will on average live to the ripe old age of 88. To make the most of your golden years, it’s important to look after your health, and as you head towards your 40s, it’s a good time to take stock, and be aware of potential dangers that tend to afflict women at this point in their lives. Here are some of the health risks women over 4 should be keeping an eye out for…
Many people see their hearing begin to deteriorate in middle age, either naturally or as a result of prolonged exposure to loud noise. Unfortunately, it’s often something that we put up with stoically, rather than dealing with it as soon as it occurs, meaning that some people suffer in near-silence for years before they see a specialist. That can result in difficulties at work or social situations, isolation and depression. You ought to have your hearing checked annually, and if you are having an issue, there are several potential solutions such as hidden hearing aids that are both unobtrusive and cost-effective.
Similarly, your vision may start fading from your 40s, so you should have it checked out on a yearly basis by a qualified optician. It may be that a stylish pair of glasses, or some contact lenses, could change your life. As with your hearing, losing your sight can have a devastating impact, so it should be a priority.
While survival rates for breast cancer have shown massive improvement over the last few decades – 85% of women diagnosed now live for at least five years, compared to just around 50% in the early 1970s – it is still one of the biggest killers. You should be performing regular checks on yourself for telltale lumps, and seeing a doctor on an annual basis. Some women with risk factors such as a history of breast cancer in the family should be keeping an eye on it earlier still, as Angelina Jolie’s recent decision to have a double mastectomy has brought to public attention.
Women between 29 and 49 years of age are offered screening for cervical cancer every three years by the NHS, as this is when it is most likely to strike. Early diagnosis is key, since survival rates vary rapidly depending if you are Stage 1, 2, 3 or 4. As a result of screening the rates of cervical cancer in the UK are now very low, so don’t ignore it.
There are many causes of heart disease, particularly smoking and high blood pressure, and the older we get the more of a danger it becomes. Visiting your GP every year for a quick check-up can help spot the early warning signs.
As rates of cervical cancer and breast cancer in the UK steadily decline, sadly skin cancer is on the rise. We enjoy quite a lot of holidays in sunny places, and exposure to UV rays through inadequate protection, or seeking shelter during the hottest part of the day, is the principal reason. Know what malignant moles look like, and have any that you are suspicious about looked at promptly.
The chances of developing Type 2 diabetes increase as you get older, but by maintaining a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise, a sensible diet, and cutting out the cigarettes, you can reduce the risk.
One of the most recognizable signs of aging is the ‘Aaah’ sound you make as you settle down into a chair. Nothing like a bit of comfort to rest those tired bones, eh? But you need to keep a good posture, because back and neck problems often develop from your 40s on wards which can lead to agonizing pain after a while. Speak to your GP or a specialist if you have any concerns.