Health Care in Your 40s
Your 40s are a dynamic and transformative time in your life. From taking care of aging parents, to balancing the increasing demands of career and family, a lot is changing for you right now—including your health care concerns. And staying on top of your health is especially important in the midst of a busy, demanding life where your daily to-do lists can easily take over. As you move into middle age, it becomes important to schedule more frequent health screenings, maintain a healthy daily routine, and stay in the know about your changing body. Schedule periodic checkups with a Dignity Health doctor to avoid preventable issues in your later years.
Preventative Health Screenings
- Blood Pressure Test: Schedule a blood pressure test every two years to stay on top of your cardiovascular health and understand your risk of hypertension.
- Mammogram: From 40 – 44, schedule a mammogram every one to two years. From 45 – 49 schedule a mammogram every year. Talk to your primary care provider about the frequency that’s right for you.
- Pap Smear and Pelvic Exam: Schedule a pap smear and pelvic exam every one to three years.
- Prostate PSA Test: Men between 45-49 should have a baseline PSA test, then talk to their doctor about what screening may be next.
- Thyroid Test: Schedule a thyroid exam every five years to ensure you’re producing the proper amount of hormones your body needs.
- Blood Glucose: Schedule a blood glucose exam every three years.
- Cardiovascular Disease Test: If you have a family history of cardiovascular disease, consider a coronary artery calcium scoring test, also known as a heart scan.
Tips for Maintaining Your Health
As we age, maintaining an active lifestyle can feel more and more difficult, but it plays an essential role in staying mentally and physically fit. Regular exercise can help you lose weight, reduce the risk of heart disease, and increase your daily energy. Aerobic exercises such as walking, dancing, biking, jogging, or swimming can help your heart pump faster. Weight bearing exercises such as weight or interval training can help maintain muscle mass. Talk to your primary care provider about exercise routines and alternatives to start leading a more active lifestyle today.
To limit health issues that commonly arise in your 40s, it’s important to keep a balanced, nutritional diet. Eating lean proteins and vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables can give your day and mood a boost. Nutrient-dense dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach help your body fight inflammation; while foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as nuts, berries, and fish support brain functions and may reduce symptoms of depression. Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption, along with foods high in sugar and saturated fat to stay on top of your game. Talk to your primary care provider about exercise routines and alternatives to start leading a more active lifestyle today.
Limit Perimenopause Symptoms
Perimenopause, or menopause transition, usually starts in your 40s when the ovaries begin to gradually make less estrogen. In the last one to two years of perimenopause, the gradual decrease in estrogen starts to speed up. At this stage, many women experience menopause symptoms including hot flashes, irregular periods, and trouble sleeping. These symptoms may be reduced by maintaining a healthy diet full of protein and omega 3 fatty acids, as well as limiting your consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.
Reduce Your Risk of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are becoming more and more common, now affecting one in 11 Americans. The risk for living with kidney stones starts to increase for men in their 40s. Luckily, there are many preventative steps you can take to reduce your risk, including a healthier diet, a more active lifestyle, and increased hydration. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day, eat less high-salt foods, and limit animal protein. Avoid other stone-forming foods that are high in phosphate and oxalate, including beets, chocolate, spinach, tea, and most nuts.
Keep Track of Your Heart Health
Stress, diabetes, and inactivity in your 40s can contribute to a higher risk of heart disease and cardiovascular issues. You can take actions to positively impact your heart health by controlling your cholesterol, reducing your blood sugar, losing weight, and quitting smoking. Managing your level of stress also plays a part in keeping your heart healthy. Engaging in stress reducing activities such as yoga and meditation can help your heart fend off stress. Seek treatment with a cardiovascular specialist to get back to living wholeheartedly today.
Take the Next Step
If you have concerns about your health, there is no better time to talk to your primary care provider. Don’t have one? We can help. Simply use our Find a Doctor tool to connect with a provider.