Female Health & Aging: What to Expect
Changes in your body are an inevitable part of growing older, but that doesn't mean you can't be prepared for what might come. If prevention is the best cure, it helps to know what to expect in the years to come so you can get ahead of the game.
The goal of this post is to help you understand and anticipate health at any age by knowing what's natural and how you can healthily make the transition from one stage to the next. In this post, we'll break down the woman's aging process by decade, how female hormones change depending on the stages of aging, and how you can age gracefully and healthily.
What Happens to the Body as You Age?
Time does indeed take its toll on the body, but it's all part of the natural aging process. As women age, natural changes take place in just about every area of their body. You may be expecting grey hair and wrinkles, but aging can also affect your teeth, cardiovascular health, and sexuality.
The body naturally becomes less efficient over time, and you start to see signs of old age in both form and function. Simply put, you won't always be able to do what you can do now or the things you once did. And like it or not, every woman will eventually experience menopause, bringing a whole host of physical and mental changes. It's not all bad though, aging well isn't a mystery but rather an accumulation of healthy routines and habits over a lifetime.
What to Expect in Your 30s
You may not feel like you're growing older, and your looks may not have changed, but your body is starting to change bit by bit in your 30s. What you do now affects life tomorrow, and you can take preventative steps to diminish the effects of aging.
Your metabolism is already starting to slow down in your 30s, making healthy eating and an active lifestyle a priority. And as skin cell production expectedly slows down, it's essential to have a solid skincare routine and be sensible about sun exposure.
This is the decade where your body naturally starts to produce fewer hormones. The natural dip in estrogen and progesterone means your periods might begin to look different. Some changes are expected, but anything that is a drastic shift from your normal should be checked out.
By your late 30s, you may also be entering the first phases of perimenopause (the transitional phase before menopause). Taking care of your hormone health now can set you up for an easier transition later. Aging may be out of your control, but there are many steps you can take to make healthy lifestyle choices that support your hormone health now and in the future.
What to Expect in Your 40s
As you move into your 40s, you are likely busy juggling work, family, and all the demands of life while also trying to take care of yourself. This decade is critical for your health as your risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and breast cancer start to increase.
As your risk for breast cancer increases, it's vital to start paying attention (or more attention) to your breast health. Regular breast exams performed by you or your doctor and regular mammograms can all aid in early detection.
In your 40s, you're likely to have either experienced pregnancy or are still actively trying to get pregnant if starting a family is the goal. Many health risks women face can result from childbearing, and while you may not have had children in this decade, the risks from child bearing can last a lifetime. Complications during pregnancy can be used as a warning sign by your physician for future threats, allowing you to anticipate and prepare for any issues that may arise later in life
Pregnancy in your 40s, while still possible, increases your risk for potentially deadly complications. From an increased risk of cancer to other factors like the strain pregnancy can put on your heart, the older a woman is when she gives birth, the more likely she is to have complications from it. If you are still considering pregnancy, it's crucial to be proactive about your health now and make any necessary lifestyle changes.
What to Expect in Your 50s
At some point, all women will go through menopause. Menopause can affect your body in many ways. It's important to know what you can do to recognize and help prevent symptoms from taking over your life. It doesn't happen all at once, and your body may take years to transition, but the average age for menopause in the US is 52 years.
You can expect the usual symptoms we all know about, like hot flashes and problems sleeping. Still, the hormonal changes associated with menopause can also affect your health.
Lower estrogen production puts women in their 50s at an increased risk for osteoporosis because bone begins to breakdown much more quickly due to lower estrogen production. The key to combating bone loss is in prevention and healthy habits.
Ensure you are taking good care of yourself as you head into menopause. Focus on getting the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other essential nutrients you need to support your bone health. Talk to your doctor about supplements that may help, like Vitamin D, B, and Calcium.
What to Expect in Your 60s
By now, you may have come to terms with changes like grey hair and wrinkles, but other changes come with healthy aging. The reality is that after six decades of use, you can expect some decline in your physical body and will have to take more outstanding physical care.
You may be dealing with the consequences of bad choices in your younger years, like tobacco use or obesity. Still, as a function of your age, you are at an increased risk for heart disease, cancer, and sensory declines like loss of sight or hearing. Preventative screenings, especially if you are at high risk or have a family history of medical problems, should be a regular part of your healthcare plan.
As you age and lose muscle mass, it can mean reduced activity that leads to general weakness, increasing your risk of falls and fractures. And while declining muscle mass is a part of normal aging, it doesn't have to stop you in your tracks. Dietary changes such as increasing your protein and maintaining your fitness with moderate exercise can help with muscle strength and function. You'll reap the benefits of exercise whether you've been a lifelong advocate or are just starting.
What to Expect in Your 70s
Just like our bodies, as we grow older, our cognitive functions start to decline as well. You may find it harder to learn new tasks, recall information, or even find your keys. Changes in memory and mental sharpness are typical with age, but severe issues may cause concern. Screening for Alzheimer's and other types of dementia is critical to consider if you have concerns in this area. A growing body of research suggests you can take steps to limit cognitive decline. Tactics include managing stress, staying socially connected, and taking care of your physical health.
Women in their 70s are at a higher risk of strokes, a condition that kills twice as many women as breast cancer does. Higher likelihood of stroke in women might be due to pregnancy, high blood pressure, birth control pills, and hormone replacement therapy. It's important to consider your risks and take action if necessary. You can help prevent strokes by making healthy lifestyle choices such as getting regular exercise, limiting alcohol, and maintaining healthy body weight.
Aging is a natural part of life, but you have some choice in how your aging body changes. You can take control of the process by knowing what to expect and taking steps to lead a healthier lifestyle, one that will support you throughout the years.
About the Author
About Carex Health Brands
Carex is your one-stop shop for home medical equipment and for products that assist caregivers with providing the best possible support and care for their loved ones. Carex Health Brands has been the branded leader in in-home, self-care medical products for over 35 years. Our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by bring them quality products that bring dignity back to their lives. With our three nationally distributed brands, Carex Health Brands serves national, regional and independent food, drug and mass retailers along with wholesalers, distributors and medical dealers.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is when a person experiences a depression that derives from the lack of light, typically during the fall and winter seasons. The American Psychiatric Association explains that "About 5 percent of adults in the U.S. experience SAD, and it typically lasts about 40 percent of the year" (Psychiatry.org) but is treatable. This article will share seasonal affective disorder self-care tips.
The phrase "Winter Blues" and "Seasonal Affective Disorder" are often mentioned interchangeably during the winter season. There is a tendency to use these phrases synonymously, but they are not. One is a condition where the season and lack of light create a depression that affects all parts of their mental health, and the other is a temporary feeling.
If you’re looking for pain relief, you may have considered or had TENS units recommended to you. They’re incredibly popular nowadays, and many people swear by them to relieve all different kinds of ailments. But if you’re new to TENS therapy, it can be overwhelming to try to research what it is and if it’s a good fit for you in particular. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about TENS units, including what they are, how to use them, and how to find the best unit for you.