What Women Over 50 Should Know About Their Health

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 01/17/2014 | 03:15 PM EST

The first lady’s birthday should be a reminder for all women over the age 50 to pay closer attention to their body

Michelle Obama’s membership in the 50-plus club is a great way to start having more serious conversations about middle-aged women and their health.


Turning 50 is a great milestone, but with it comes a huge responsibility in staying on top of one’s health, particularly women. While 50 is often romanticized as the new 40, it doesn’t change the fact that your body becomes susceptible to many health risks. Knowing what to look for, how to respond accordingly and what questions to ask your doctor is important and can be literally life saving. Take a look at this compiled list of health risks every woman over the age of 50 should pay closer attention for.


Heart Disease

When women reach menopause it puts them more at risk for heart disease, which affects about 8 million women in the United State. It is believed that the female hormone, estrogen, provides protection to the heart until menopause. Roughly 440,000 heart attacks occur every few years.


Breast Cancer

While this is probably a no brainer for most, breast cancer is the most cancer that affects women in America. One in eight women will find out that she has breast cancer at some time in her life. This disease occurs when cells become abnormal, then forming other cells in an uncontrolled manner, which leads to forming masses of tissues called a tumor.


Depression

Because going through menopause is a biologically life changing point in a woman’s life, many will undoubtedly develop depression, which is one of the most common causes of menopause. Depression is also caused whether you have a family with depression or not.


Cervical Cancer

Any woman who has had genital contact with another person can get HPV, human papillomavirus, the cause of cervical cancer. Your risk of getting this cancer is high if you smoke.


Diabetes

Though diabetes, which occurs when your blood sugar is too high, is affecting more and more women at younger ages and can occur at any age, it is at its highest risk rate between the ages of 55 and 59.


Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the thinning of the bones, in which they become weak, making it more likely for them to break. Unfortunately, there are no symptoms to look out for until you actually break a bone. According to The National Women's Health Information Center, you have a greater chance of osteoporosis if you are female, small boned, and have a history of osteoporosis in your family.


Here are a few steps you can take to avoid some of these health risks:


Stay physically active.


Stay at a healthy weight.


Get your blood pressure checked every two years and your cholesterol checked regularly.


Schedule a mammogram every 1 to 2 years.


Have a Pap Smear every 1 to 3 years.


Talk to your doctor about being screened for depression if you suddenly feel overwhelming sadness or hopeless.


Get a blood test for diabetes, especially if you have high blood pressure.

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