Attention Women Over 50: You Have Specific Health Needs!

As a woman, you’ve been keenly aware of specific health issues that you’ve been taught to monitor through your child-bearing years. But, what about specific health concerns beyond age 55? As women move beyond this age, there are women and age-specific issues that become important.  There are 10 things that all women should know about their health and aging.

  1. Heart disease. In women over 55, the symptoms of a heart attack can be quite different than with men. In a study, the most commonly reported symptoms were not chest pain or discomfort but fatigue, interrupted sleep, and shortness of breath.
  2. Cancer. Older women must face the elevated chances of cervical, colon and breast cancer during this time.
  3. Stroke. Every year in the U.S., 55,000 more women than men have strokes. 60% of total deaths by stroke occur in women.
  4. Injuries caused by falling. Women were 58% more likely than men to suffer a nonfatal fall injury 
  5. Failing vision. Vision tests and tests for glaucoma should be done every year.
  6. Consequences of menopause like osteoporosis. The loss of hormones because of menopause can start to affect the bones around age 50. Senior women should continue to take Calcium with vitamin D to help prevent the onset of this degenerative bone disease
  7. Disabilities. The rate of disabilities in women is higher than in men because women with disabilities tend to live longer than a man with similar afflictions.
  8. Good nutrition is vital for good health.  Especially in the later years, a diet that has lots of vegetables and fruit and fewer fats and processed food are recommended.
  9. Keep a healthy weight. This can be done by following a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Weight bearing exercises like walking will also help keep osteoporosis at bay.
  10. Lastly, regular testing for certain health issues is recommended.  Senior women should see a doctor on a regular basis and have standard screening tests such as:
    1. Pap tests to check for cervical cancer
    2.  Mammograms that look for unusual lumps are masses in the breasts. It is very important for women over 50 to have one once a year.
    3. Either a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy to look for polyps that may be responsible for colon cancer.
    4. Bone density screenings to test the strength of the bones.

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