With age comes wisdom… and as we age there are also a host of new health changes that can occur. Ones we’re often not prepared for.
As women in our 40s, we may experience hormone changes and the onset of perimenopause, bone density can become an issue and metabolism can slow down. So how should we tackle these changes and prepare for a healthy future?
First up, ensure you have a consistent GP, who is across your normal health benchmarks. Then, there are several key health checks to consider to help maintain your wellbeing and proactively address any changes. Think of them as your stay-healthy checklist – embracing these health and medical checks and managing associated changes empowers you to take control of your health, so you can keep enjoying a fulfilling life way beyond 40.
A healthier you
Checking your health insurance policy is also something to consider. You’ll want to make sure your current policy still meets your needs and adequately covers any new health concerns that might arise with age. Just keep in mind any waiting periods you may have to serve if you’re upgrading your policy to include coverage for new items that may become more important as you get older, such as joint replacements.
Keep reading for five health checks to make after turning 40 to ensure you stay healthy now and in the future. And remember, if you notice any unusual changes in your mind or body, speak to a healthcare professional. Early intervention is always best.
Regular mammograms are crucial for breast health after 40. Breast tissue changes with age, making it important to detect any abnormalities or signs of breast cancer early. Once you reach 40 you are eligible to have a free two yearly mammogram through the BreastScreen Australia Program.
Self-breast exams should also be practiced monthly to familiarise yourself with the normal feel and appearance of breast tissue.
2. Bone density scan
Estrogen levels decline during perimenopause and menopause, and women become more susceptible to bone density loss, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. A bone density test, often performed through a DEXA scan, measures bone strength and helps identify potential fractures.
To manage bone health, ensure you have sufficient calcium and vitamin D intake (through diet or supplements), and engage in weight-bearing exercises. Discuss medications or supplements with your healthcare provider if necessary.
3. Eye exams
Vision changes are common with age, and after 40, the risk of eye conditions like presbyopia (reading and focussing on close objects becomes more difficult) and glaucoma increases. Regular eye exams at the opticians can identify these changes and enable early intervention.
You can support your eye health by wearing quality sunglasses (those with a UV rating of 3 or 4 absorb almost all UV radiation), adopting a diet rich in antioxidants and nutrients beneficial for eye health, and avoiding habits like smoking that can harm vision.
4. Cervical screening test
Regular cervical screenings, which also test for human papillomavirus (HPV), are essential for detecting cervical cancer and related abnormalities. Cervical changes can occur with age, necessitating consistent monitoring to catch any issues early. By staying up-to-date with these screenings you can proactively manage your cervical health and reduce the risk of cervical cancer.
5. Cholesterol and heart health
After 40, women become more susceptible to heart disease due to hormonal changes and ageing. Regular cholesterol checks, along with blood pressure monitoring, help assess heart health. Lifestyle changes such as maintaining a heart-healthy diet, staying physically active, managing stress, and avoiding smoking are vital steps to empower you in preventing heart-related issues.
Check your health insurance
Checking your health insurance policy is essential, especially as you enter your 40s and beyond. At this stage of life, your health needs and potential medical expenses can change. Regularly comparing health insurance policies helps to ensure you’re getting the most suitable coverage for your needs and budget. It helps you identify possible differences in benefits, costs, and exclusions, enabling you to make an informed choice that aligns with your healthcare requirements.
Visit iSelect to help you compare options for its range of policies and providers.
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