When you turn 50 (or more) it is time to put into practice all your knowledge acquired with the effort of a healthy life. You must know when you have to be examined; you know the importance of exercise and good nutrition; you probably feel and look amazing. However, middle age will bring some special health challenges for women, and many make health mistakes that can worsen conditions that are being treated.
6 top health mistakes women make in their 50s
The good news is that none of those challenges have to stop you from living a vibrant and productive life for decades to come. To stay in top health, avoid these six common health mistakes in middle age and beyond.
1. You ignore heart health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, and the risk increases as women age. Menopause does not cause cardiovascular disease. Rather, it's those bad habits earlier in life - like smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise - that can start to affect heart health in women 50 and older, according to the American Heart Association.
A report on the so-called "heart age" versus biological age shows that women, on average, have hearts that are five years older than the actual chronological age. If a woman has high blood pressure (140 mm Hg or more), the "age" of her heart is 18 years older, according to the report.
But the good news is, it's not too late to change the habits that increase your risk for heart disease.
Although you may have already done some harm to yourself, the evidence points to the fact that the changes you make in terms of exercising more, eating smarter, losing weight, and quitting smoking, regardless of your age, will benefit your heart.
In fact, a study by the German Cancer Research Center of nearly 9,000 people between the ages of 50 and 74 showed that the risk of heart attack and stroke can be reduced by 40 percent within the first five years. to quit cigarettes.
This is also the time to be sure to keep up with heart health tests, such as blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol tests. Prevention or early detection, when problems can be easily treated, will help keep a woman active and healthy.
Don't be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. If you have problems with exercise or weight loss and blood pressure control, don't think you have to do everything on your own. Talk to your doctor. He or she can help you.
2. You endure the miseries of menopause
One of the biggest mistake’s women make during this time is thinking that they have to learn to live with menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, trouble sleeping, and vaginal and urinary problems.
Although short-term use of hormone therapy has been shown to help many women dealing with some of the most serious problems of menopause, not all women are candidates for or can take hormones. But that does not mean that they have to suffer as there are other supports available.
For example, if hot flashes are causing difficulties, the North American Menopause Society has published findings on what really works for you. According to their report, cognitive behavioral therapy (including relaxation techniques, learning to feel more positive about menopause, and sleeping strategies) can reduce the severity of hot flashes. Clinical hypnosis also has good evidence.
Bladder problems, such as stress or urinary incontinence, can also be helped with medications, devices, and habit changes, who advises women to see a doctor with a special interest in menopause if they have menopausal difficulties.
3. You think sex is over
Sexual frequency can decrease with age, but a survey published in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that even 75- to 85-year-olds had sex two to three times a month, with more than 20 percent reporting sexual intercourse when least once a week.
However, sex can change due to hormonal disruptions in menopause, which can cause vaginal dryness and potentially painful sex.
But over-the-counter lubricating products can help, as can prescription topical estrogen. (Yoga, Kegel exercises, and pelvic floor physical therapy can also help some women improve sexual function, according to the North American Menopause Society.)
It is important for women to remember that sex can be very beneficial to our bodies, minds, and spirits, often resulting in better pelvic muscle tone, healthier vaginal tissues, and better psychological well-being.
Despite the challenges, sexual relationships can improve as people age, as women no longer fear pregnancy and couples have less stress from their careers or financial situations, she adds.
4. You think that weight gain is inevitable
Here's the real story: the risk of weight gain increases with advancing age, but that doesn't mean that extra pounds are inevitable. But you have to try harder to maintain your weight and lose weight.
This is because so-called energy expenditures decrease during menopause due to the loss of muscle and hormonal changes. If you eat the same things and exercise the same amount as when you were thirty, you could still gain weight. Women don't want to hear that, but it's biology.
A good starting point is the American Heart Association recommendation for 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week, divided into 30 minutes, five times a week, or in smaller increments, such as 15 minutes twice a day.
While exercise is great, you should also eat a little smarter. A study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion followed nearly 200 middle-aged women for three years, tracking eating patterns, general health, and lifestyle. The researchers found that women who did not change their eating habits as they got older were 138 percent more likely to gain nearly ten pounds or more during middle age.
The solution is to eat more fruits, vegetables and lean protein and be aware of what you are putting on your plate.
5. You lose your sense of "purpose"
The "purpose" provides structure to our lives. And when retirement or other age-related challenges loom, some people may lose their sense of "purpose" and positivity, leading to poor health and a worse sense of well-being, he adds.
Having "purpose" in midlife and beyond doesn't mean you have to strive to change the world, although if you think you can, why not give it a try? Rather, it's simply finding meaning on a day-to-day basis, whether that's gardening, learning a new language, volunteering at a local pet shelter, or even starting a new career if you wish.
It's these little things that can pay off big. A study of about 6,000 people, who were part of the Midlife study in the United States, found a lower risk of mortality during the 14-year study follow-up among participants who had a sense of purpose in life and maintained good social relationships.
A study at Rush University showed that having a "purpose" later in life reduced cognitive decline by about 30 percent. Other studies show that "purpose" reduces the risk of heart failure, Alzheimer's disease, and may even make a person more likely to follow a healthy lifestyle.
6. You skip those new projections
At this time, certain screening tests, such as PAP, blood pressure, cholesterol, are part of your healthy lifestyle routine. But once you hit 50 (and over), your doctor will recommend others, such as colorectal cancer screening (age 50 and older) and bone density screening (age 65 or younger)
If you decided not to have a mammogram at age 40, start now. It is recommended that women ages 50 to 74 have mammograms every two years starting at age 50.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women begin mammograms at age 45 and have them every year until age 55, and then begin every two years. Although, if you are one of those who prefer not to enter so much radiation that this procedure entails, you can distance the tests further. Share your concerns with your doctor.
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