Women’s Health: What to Watch for After 40
August 5th, 2021
As we age, we face new health problems that may not have been an issue during our younger years including changes in vision and hearing and aches and pains for no real reason. Women are prone to some unique health problems after the age of 40, just because they are female and are aging. Read on for some of the most prevalent risks.
According to WebMD, heart disease is the leading cause of death in women over 40. There are a range of symptoms depending on what form of heart disease you have. Some symptoms may include:
- Chest discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme fatigue
- Fluttering in your chest
- Racing heartbeat
- Slow heartbeat
- Fainting or near fainting
- Pale gray or blue skin color
- Swelling in the legs, abdomen or areas around the eyes
These are just some of the most common signs that you could be experiencing a heart-related event. Please consult with your doctor or medical provider if you are experiencing such symptoms, and call 911 or get to your local ER if your condition is emergent.
As women age, vitamin deficiencies increase and cause many symptoms and conditions. One of the most common deficiencies is in Vitamin D, which contributes to increased bone-mass loss, osteoporosis, depression, and seasonal affective disorder. In addition to regular sunlight and diet, supplements are an easy way to get Vitamin D levels back to a normal range.
Unfortunately, the risk of women developing breast cancer increases dramatically between the ages of 30-40. At age 30, a woman’s likelihood of developing breast cancer is significantly lower than at age 40. Therefore, it’s important that you have regular breast exams that are performed either by yourself or a doctor. This reduces your chance of developing breast cancer and can aid in early treatment if it does develop.
SheKnows claims that women over 40 have the highest rate of unintended pregnancy and abortion next to teenagers. In fact, almost 25 percent of women in this demographic don’t use birth control.
Surprisingly, arthritis isn’t only a problem for senior citizens. 54.4 million adults in the US have some form of arthritis. Arthritis and osteoarthritis are more common as you age because your bone mass and density decrease.
According to the CDC, Type 2 diabetes is more likely to occur in adults 45+. In fact, about 1.5 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed per year, and more than 50 percent of these cases are ages 45-64. Therefore, as you age, it’s critical to maintain a healthy diet and have routine bloodwork done annually in order to help prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism are better known as blood clots. There is an increased risk of blood clots in women over 40 and the symptoms are often overlooked until it’s too late. If you have swelling or pain in your calf, you should get it checked out as soon as possible, especially if there is redness and warmth to the touch. Remember, blood clots are life threatening, so if you experience these medical issues, get them examined by medical professionals immediately.
Women are more likely to have a stroke than men, yet most women aren’t concerned about this life-threatening medical issue and often don’t even see the signs which include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.
Not only are women over 40 at a greater risk for strokes, but those taking hormone replacement therapy or estrogen during and following menopause have an even higher likelihood.
FAST is an acronym used to assess the warning signs of a stroke:
- Face. When one side of the face droops involuntarily when attempting to smile.
- Ask. Ask the potential victim to lift their arms. If one droops or drifts downward and can’t be held up, the person is most likely suffering a stroke.
- Speech. If a person’s words are slurred, they cannot repeat a simple phrase, or their speech is strange, this can be another sign of a stroke.
- Time. The most critical element of any stroke is time. Make sure you call 9-1-1 immediately if you observe any of these symptoms in yourself or someone you know. The “golden hour” in stroke treatment is within the first hour of symptom onset. Treatment at this time is the most effective for survival and recovery.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 80 percent of patients with osteoporosis are women. Almost half of women over 40 who suffer from a broken bone can attribute it to osteoporosis. Women have a smaller frame and thinner bones, and estrogen decreases sharply after menopause, which all contribute to bone loss.
While menopause is a well-known fact of life for women who reach a certain age, but women actually begin experiencing changes during perimenopause, or pre-menopause. Perimenopause may affect your menstrual regularity and estrogen levels. Also, you may experience menopause symptoms like hot flashes, sleep problems, and vaginal dryness.
Perimenopause can also cause adult-onset asthma because of hormonal fluctuations. If you experience a nagging, persistent cough, or if you get winded, are wheezing, and cannot catch your breath for a long period of time, you should seek medical attention. While asthma and it’s symptoms are treatable, it can cause serious issues if left untreated.
If you’re concerned about any of these age-related issues and are not having a medical emergency, Cure Urgent Care can help. We provide immediate appointments for the treatment and diagnoses of a variety of women’s health-related needs. Remember, things may start to change for women after 40 so regular check-ups and addressing health concerns immediately is the key to living a long, happy and healthy life.