Fifty is the new 40 right? If we take care of ourselves we can even go as far as saying it’s our new 30! Health awareness is the key and so much information is easy to access on our own laptop through blogs like this doing the research for you. Let’s discuss a few concerns here and follow up with any questions or replies you may have.
What health issues are common in older women?
Here is a short list of concerns we need to ask about each year to get the information we need to keep ourselves active and feeling young:
- Cholesterol levels are a concern at any age but our levels tend to naturally rise as we head into our 50’s and beyond. They can wreak havoc on our bodies if not regulated inviting problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease harming our overall health.
- Blood pressure is a major concern for us now and it is important to make note of what our normal rate is per our doctor’s records in order to note any difference if problems arise in-between visits. My rate runs a bit slower and yours may run higher on a normal day so keeping a health journal will be a way to inform those that may be trying to help us in an emergency.
- Osteoporosis – A bone density test is a must to request yearly especially if you have lost any height over the years, seem fragile and vulnerable to bone fractures, taking certain drugs containing steroids and/or your hormone levels have fluctuated due to changes in your estrogen levels because of menopause. Osteoporosis is the biggest concern but there is good news and things we can add and/or subtract in diet and our daily lives to help avoid problems in this area. Increasing our daily intake of calcium, vitamin D, and potassium is a start. Adding good protein to our diet, putting a stop to unhealthy habits like smoking and the overuse of alcohol will certainly help. Remember to take notes so you can see from visit to visit how the changes you are making daily are worth the effort!
- Cancer screening is imperative and let your doctor go over the specific areas you may need to keep a close eye on per your family history.
- Incontinence is not considered a normal occurrence as we age however it is a problem to so many women because of how our body changes and what our bodies go through due to childbirth. Speak to your doctor if you are experiencing problems for any medical advice he will have for you but don’t worry excessively ahead of time about this for there are several things we can do to aid our bodies and help us to overcome some of the damage done. Drinking water versus drinks that contain alcohol and caffeine is a start. Adding fiber to our daily diet and staying on an exercise schedule that includes any exercises that requires us to tighten our pelvic muscles, building up our ability to go longer between bathroom visits without problems of leakage. Kegel exercise is one of the best which is lying on our backs with bended knees and lifting our pelvic up while tightening the muscles and then back down letting our muscles relax. Make a habit of doing repetitions of this exercise daily and you will notice a difference.
Do mental health problems increase with age?
Now let’s chat about our mental state at this stage of our lives and how that plays into our overall health. Some of us separate our mental from our physical and that can create problems on its own. It is simply amazing how our thought process can completely change our overall health and a positive outlook can deter many issues that would have otherwise become a problem for us. We are suddenly looking at an empty nest as our children are starting a life on their own, retirement planning, caring for a parent are just a few stressful issues on our plate at this age. There is no wonder over 20% of women in their 50’s start experiencing anxiety and depression causing some physical health problems to surface.
Why is friendship important in older adults?
As life changes in unexpected and unprepared ways, we can become overwhelmed quickly and what was once a passion and enjoyment has now become a chore. Our appearance has gone to the bottom of the list of importance putting everyone else and their needs ahead of our own. Somehow we forget that when we begin to ignore ourselves and allow our needs to become insignificant it overflows onto everyone and everything surrounding us. Some of us have become convinced that we are simply unimportant and unnoticeable but we have got to remind ourselves that others are concentrating on this life thing too and perhaps finding time to gather may be an initiative we have to take to make happen and here’s why:
- Healthy friendships are the key to aging happily and help influence our daily habits. If our close friends smoke, drink excessively, stay out late then we are going to follow suit so the keyword here is healthy. We are no longer in our 20’s and what we spend our time doing now has an enormous effect on our forever health. It becomes much more difficult to back out of bad habits the older we get but with wise choices, a healthier future awaits us.
- As we age true and healthy friendships directly effect on our mental health. Honestly I will say fostering my friendships seems more difficult the older I get and I guess that is because the journey we now share is traveling through unchartered territory. We are no longer in the throes of simply growing up, staying out of trouble, going to college; which are deep issues certainly worthy of thought, planning and sure decision making however most of us had similar guidelines we referred to pointing us towards the best outcome. Now even with the best decisions made earlier in our life those common directions vary and often due to issues outside ourselves and our desires. Having a few real friends to discuss these new issues help us to see them from a new perspective, allows us to laugh even if the road muddies a bit.
- Friendships in our 50’s will help carry us through life, instill self-worth and boost our self-confidence when we need it the most. These new gray hairs, laugh lines, our bodies shifting in ways that even redirects our sense of fashion can create a false reflection when looking at our new self. Keep in touch, gather frequently and realize how very important these precious people are and treat them accordingly.
As I bring this to a close I want us all to remember to change our eating habits, develop and maintain a good sleeping schedule. Find a daily workout plan and stick to it, make yourself go to those dreaded annual doctor visits, keep a health journal and foster friendships for they are one our most important assets. Feel free to share with us your secrets and healthy habits that you have found beneficial to your daily happiness and overall health.