Not everyone experiences health problems before a certain age. So it’s possible if you’ve made it to your forties without having any major medical conditions, but that doesn’t mean you should be careless. Once you hit 40 this may or may not change depending on your body. While every individual is different, there are certain things to keep in mind when you’ve reached your 40s.
According to Dr. Nikhil Kulkarni, Internal Medicine Consultant, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim, a Fortis associate, women become prone to various health complications in their 40s. This Mother’s Day, let’s take a look at some of the common health problems that can affect women over the age of 40 and what they can do to reduce their risk.
The risk of developing disease in your mid-40s increases for a number of reasons, he explains. “The effects of inappropriate lifestyle habits, aging along with various other factors elevate the condition and make it worse. In her mid-40s, a woman experiences menopause, which leads to various problems due to hormonal changes,” shares Dr. Kulkarni.
6 Common Health Conditions in Women Over 40
Here are some complications women should be aware of, according to the expert:
1. Vitamin deficiencies
The most common health problem affecting women in their 40s is vitamin D deficiency. In some cases, vitamin D deficiency leads to a loss of bone calcium and bone mass, which increases the risk of developing osteoporosis. . A study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care found that vitamin D deficiency is very common in women over the age of 40, increasing the risk of postmenopausal bone loss and osteoporosis. Other common deficiencies in women over the age of 40 include deficiency of B vitamins, iron, and riboflavin.
Several studies have found that the risk of diabetes increases with age, and the risk has increased exponentially in all age groups in the past decade. Dr. Kulkarni says that there are several factors that contribute to the onset of diabetes in women over the age of 40. “It can be contributed by genetic factors or by lack of exercise, unhealthy lifestyle and faulty diet.”
Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting tested early can help reverse prediabetes or keep diabetes under control.
Menopause is a time that marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average age of a woman reaching menopause is 45 to 55 years. Dr. Kulkarni says, “Most women go through the perimenopausal phase in their late 30s or early 40s, therefore they need to monitor symptoms and take necessary steps under expert guidance. Perimenopause can affect the body in many ways, leading to serious complications like heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.”
Also read: 7 signs that tell you it’s time for menopause
Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which your bones become weak and you experience bone loss. Women in their 40s become more prone to the disease due to menopause. Women with a family history of osteoporosis should have a bone density scan during menopause to monitor their bone health. Taking good care of yourself during menopause, having an adequate amount of vitamin D, doing the right exercises and following a proper diet will help reduce the risk, says the expert.
5. Heart disease
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women and also a cause of morbidity in this age group? It is important for women to understand the signs and symptoms of heart disease to prevent it from becoming a major health problem. Bad eating habits, smoking, alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, and high cholesterol all contribute to this. Also, the drop in estrogen levels during menopause increases the chances of heart disease.
Also read: Protects your heart! 8 everyday tips to prevent the risk of heart disease
6. Breast cancer
Dr. Kulkarni says: “Women in their 30s and 40s are at higher risk of developing breast cancer. It can contribute to diet, the environment and general health. Therefore, it is very important to have a periodic breast self-exam or one performed by a doctor. Annual mammography will also help in early detection and treatment.”
7. Stress-Induced Mental Health Conditions
While stress is an inevitable part of life, it can become more prominent in your 30s and 40s. Excessive stress can also lead to various mental health problems. Mental health disorders can occur at any age, however there is a higher risk in middle-aged people due to the physiological changes that occur in a woman’s body during menopause. The challenges of advancing age combined with family issues like aging parents, growing children, and the pressures to overcome family challenges can make a person psychologically more vulnerable. Underlying problems such as depression and anxiety can arise and need to be identified and addressed early to avoid complications, the doctor explains.
This Mother’s Day, make sure all moms take good care of themselves by going for a regular medical checkup and exams to avoid complications in the future.