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Women's general health

7 Things you need to look out for when you are a female at 40

Dr. Akin-Onitolo A.

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As you get older, several changes begin to take place in your body. These changes often include rising blood pressure, painful joints and reduced sleep. Even inherited diseases start to rear their heads as we age. At 40 years, it is advised that you begin taking regular health checks if you have not made this routine before.

Listed below are a list of health conditions that need to be screened for when you are female and aged between 40 to 64 years. Hypertension and Diabetes top the list but there are some others we often overlook:

Hypertension

It is very important to have your blood pressure (BP) checked at least once a year. If you have a close relative who has or has had hypertension, you would need to monitor your blood pressure more frequently. You may also see your healthcare provider at the same time or check your BP at a chemist or pharmacy close to you.

Diabetes

This is another very common disease among older people. Having a family member with the disease is significant along with being obese. A simple blood test can help screen for diabetes and should be done regularly.

Obesity

You should know your body mass index (BMI) even before you are 40. Obesity is a major factor in many diseases and to stay healthy, you need to have healthy weight. To calculate your BMI, measure your height and weight and use the formula on our site.

Hyperlipidemia

This refers to high fat content in the blood. It shares close association with obesity and Diabetes and puts you at risk of heart attack, limb pain and stroke. It may also be inherited and can go unnoticed for a very long time.

 

Breast cancer

Doctors advise that you begin to take mammograms (a special test designed to check for breast tumours) when you turn 40. Like all chronic diseases, it is best picked early when many treatment options would be open to you. So don’t take this for granted. Mammograms can pick small growths and are more effective than breast examinations.

Cervical cancer

From age 21 or when you become sexually active (whichever is earlier), you should start having yearly pap smears to screen for cervical cancer. And if you have not done this before, you should start now.

Colon cancer

Usually, you don’t have to screen for this until 50 but when your mom or dad or other close relation has had the disease, you are advised to start checking earlier. A colonoscopy is done to look in your colon (large intestine) for polyps or other abnormality. It has the added advantage of removing these polyps for further tests.

 

Of course, you do not have to wait until you clock 40 to have your health checked. Be sure to take any abnormal symptoms or signs you notice with care. See your healthcare provider as soon as possible, it may make the difference between living a long, healthy life and not.

We want to hear from you!

Do you have any of these conditions? Have you screened for any of them? Tell us all about it. Ask us your questions.
P.S.: One thoughtful and valuable way to show how much you care for Mama is giving her a comprehensive health check.

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Dr. Akin-onitolo A. is a graduate of the University of Lagos whose mission is to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) using health promotion and improved health literacy. She is an MDCN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria) certified doctor who had her elective at King's College London. Hugely interested in travel, meeting people and generally being creative, reading and writing fiction are a few hobbies you could find her engaged in during her spare time. Catch up with her on Twitter @Akinonitolo and Instagram @t_onitolo