Women's Health Handbook Part 4: Tips for the 50's
The list just gets longer... Women have more to think about when it comes to their health in their 50's and beyond. In the conclusion of "Women's Health Handbook" TV20's Corrie Lovette talks to doctors and other women about life after "The Change." "50's are a time usually when a lot of women start to feel more free."
The 50's can be a "sweet spot"-- as many women move into a more confident and secure season of life, but that doesn't mean there aren't challenges, especially as you add new concerns to the list of things to consider...
"The energy is really down," Charlotte Kasper said.
Charlotte Kasper is 51. For most-- that means menopause.
"In addition to not having period, they also have the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and night sweats, but there are other things going on below the surface that they don't always realize," Anthony Agrios (OBGYN Physician) said.
As estrogen decreases so does heart function. Blood vessels are compromised as cholesterol plaques start developing.
"Controlling your cholesterol and high blood pressure and screening for that and being aware of what to do if you do think you're having a heart attack. Baby aspirin and getting to the hospital emergency," Michael Cotter (OBGYN Physician) said.
The number one killer of women is cardiovascular disease. A slower metabolism and lower energy levels don't help. That's why diet and exercise are even more critical to maintain after the age of 50.
"Not so much exercise, I should. I'm trying to eat healthier. I was raised in a southern family where everything was fried," Charlotte Kasper (51 years old) said.
During and after the 50's, a primary care physician should monitor your blood pressure and do blood tests every 6 months to a year. Mammograms should continue at least every 2 years, along with pap smears every 3 years or as a doctor prescribes. Also, colorectal screening typically begin in the 50's with a colonoscopy.
"Another thing that pops up at this time of life is stress urinary incontinence, which is leaking of urine that can be managed both medically and surgically," Sheyna Carroccio (OBGYN Physician).
Periodic checks of the skin, eyes, ears and dental care are also necessary. And then there's your bones...
"Starting with menopause we see a rapid loss of bone mineralization and osteoporosis and the best way to screen for that is with a bone density scan, which is an x-ray test."
Add to that thyroid monitoring and the possibility of anxiety and depression. It's a lot to think about. Kasper does her own research, talks to other women and has a lot of questions for her doctors-- who she sees regularly.
"Probably the biggest is communication,"
Kasper, like many women her age, is balancing a full time job, husband and kids... while trying to stay on top of her health.
"I definitely want to see my children graduate from high school and college, and I want to be healthy and able to see my grandchildren."
And that's all the motivation she needs.
Corrie Lovette, TV20 News.
For more information on Women's Health, click here.
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