As women grow older, the risk for acquiring health conditions because of damaged cells and organs also increases. Although attention to women’s health is important in all stages of life, prioritizing your health when you are in your 30s is very important, as the body goes through drastic changes as you approach your menopausal stage.
There are 11 major health issues that women experience in their peri- and post-menopausal years. Most but not all of these conditions are closely related to menopause. In menopause many, if not all, health issues are connected to changing estrogen levels.
Here are the main health risks for middle-aged women:
Cardiovascular conditions: Heart Disease and Hypertension
Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in women worldwide. Women of any age can have heart disease, but age increases the risk, especially after menopause.
When too much cholesterol is accumulated in the blood and builds up in the walls of the arteries, it will harden and the blood flow will be slowed down or blocked. Because of the blood carries the oxygen to the heart and other key organs in the body, if cholesterol build-up gets in the way, women can have a heart attack.
High blood cholesterol itself does not cause symptoms, so many people are unaware that their cholesterol level is too high. It is important to find out what your cholesterol numbers are because lowering cholesterol levels that are too high lessens the risk for developing heart disease and reduces the chance of a heart attack or dying of heart disease, even if you already have it. Cholesterol lowering is important for everyone–younger, middle age, and older adults; women and men; and people with or without heart disease.
Cancers: Breast and Cervical
Two of the most common cancers affecting women are breast and cervical cancers. Because of the changes in the body as it grows older, specifically on the amount of estrogen released by the brain, tumors and cysts can develop.
Although the past years, records of cases have shown dramatic improvement in treatment and cure, specialists reiterate that the best chance of overcoming the disease is early detection. Around half a million women still, loses to the big C every year.
Many other cancers can be developed throughout a woman’s lifetime which age increases such as uterus and ovarian but the numbers are significantly lower than the two.
About 1 in 10 middle-aged women in Australia has Type 2 Diabetes. Studies support that most of the cases are diagnosed when a woman is in her 30s, but the effects manifest later in life. The risk of developing diabetes increases with age, along with lifestyle and general fitness.
Memory Problems: Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia
Dementia is a brain disorder that is usually characterized by short-term memory loss. But, it is more serious than that. The chronic illness affects a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. The most common form of dementia among older people is Alzheimer’s disease, which involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.
Age is the most important known risk factor for AD. The number of people with the disease doubles every 5 years beyond age 65. Alzheimer’s is a slow disease, starting with mild memory problems and ending with severe brain damage.
More women than men survive to the ages when dementia is most common.
Bone Implications: Osteoporosis
About 8 out of 10 Australian women are at risk of having Osteoporosis later on in her life. Woman, in this case, are more prone to the bone disease because their bones are smaller and they lose bone more rapidly than men due to hormone changes that occur with menopause. Women also have less bone mass from the start. Calcium is also decreased as women gave birth and breastfed, and as estrogen supply decreases with menopause.
One of the risk factors for the disease includes aging, having a thin and frail body and small bone structure. A woman can have no idea she has Osteoporosis until she suffers a broken bone, low back pain or develops a hunched back. The disease can cause the vertebrae to collapse, so the person may also get shorter over time.
When the heart becomes less efficient with age and must double up the work to function and circulate oxygenated blood throughout the body, blood vessels lose their elasticity which tends to lead to high blood pressure.
High blood pressure, along diabetes, are two major risk factors for stroke. A stroke can occur without warning and cause temporary or permanent brain damage and related loss of bodily functions. But the older a woman is, the higher she is at risk to have a Stroke. Studies show that one in three people older than 60, and half of those older than 85 have hearing loss.
Mental health: Anxiety and Depression
Numerous researchers suggest that women are more prone than men to experience anxiety and depression. The two are the most common mental health problem that is associated with higher suicide rates committed by women too. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of death for women under 60.