Life begins at 40, yet it’s also the time when women become more prone to diseases. Your body undergoes many changes at 40, and it can accelerate your aging if you don’t take preventive measures.
Ideally, you should start making healthy choices in your 20s. But what usually happens is you only do so in your 30s, at least. Being healthy and active in your 20s will benefit you later in your life. If you spent your youth in recklessness and unhealthy behaviors, your body’s going to manifest the effects in your 40s.
To ensure that your life can indeed begin at 40, here’s what you expect when you reach that age:
- Your Bone Health Declines
If you stopped exercising in your 30s, your bones might become brittle in your 40s. In turn, you might increase your risk for rheumatoid arthritis. It’s an autoimmune disorder that causes your immune system to attack your joints. Symptoms include joint pain and swelling.
If not rheumatoid arthritis, it could be osteoporosis that might affect you. It’s a disease that weakens your bones and makes you vulnerable to severe injuries. To prevent both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, do strength training two to three times a week. Combine it with cardio workouts to improve your heart health and manage your weight better.
- You Become More Prone to Heart Disease
Speaking of heart health, your heart in your 40s becomes more susceptible to disease. Your risks for stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart problems increase. To prevent any heart condition, stick to a healthy diet, and engage in physical activity regularly. Find out your risk factors; they include a family history of heart disease, lifestyle, and such. Consult with your doctor to determine the best heart disease prevention method for you.
- Your Reproductive System Changes
Perhaps the most significant change you’ll experience in your 40s is in your reproductive system. As you reach menopausal age, you might start having premenopausal symptoms. Those include hot flashes, irregular periods, and heavy bleeding. Your libido might also decrease as your testosterone levels decline in your 40s.
Watch out for your ovaries’ health. You might be more likely to develop ovarian cancer. Presently, no screening for ovarian cancer is available, so preventive measures are your best defense against it. Consider having your fallopian tubes removed, and later, your ovaries. But consult with your ob-gyn to ensure that it will be effective in preventing the disease.
- You Might Experience Breakouts Again
According to Dr. Adeeti Gupta, founder of Walk In GYN Care in New York City, your 40s is like hitting puberty all over again. Before having your period, you might get breakouts like you did in your teens. It’s an effect of the hormonal changes you’re experiencing. You don’t have to worry about it, though. Your breakouts will stop when your hormones get settled again.
- You Might Be at Risk for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
The exact cause of CFS is still a mystery. But women in their 40s and 50s have a high risk for it. CFS can weaken your immune system, cause stress, hormonal imbalance, and, of course, extreme fatigue.
Some bacterial and viral infections are also found to be related to CFS. About 1 in 10 people with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), Ross River virus or Coxiella burnetii infection will develop a condition with symptoms of CFS. Hence, if your immune system is already weak, take measures to boost it. It’s your best defense against bacterial and viral infections.
If you start experiencing constant fatigue, get tested as early as possible since the disease can be hard to diagnose. The sooner you undergo effective chronic fatigue treatment, the faster you can bounce back to good health.
- You Might Be Prone to Urinary Tract Infection
In your 40s, your thinning vaginal walls and changes in your vagina’s pH can increase your risks for urinary tract infection (UTI). Thankfully, it’s nothing numerous glasses of water can’t prevent. If you contract the disease, take the prescribed dose of antibiotics, and you’d get better in no time.
- Your Risk for Cancer Might Increase
Since aging naturally weakens your immune system, your body in your 40s becomes more susceptible to serious diseases. Breast and endometrial cancers are one of them. So early in your 40s, start getting screened for these cancers regularly.
Though your health doesn’t have to decline as you age, it’s just a fact that it’s easier to stay healthy in your 20s than in your 40s. But nowadays, even people in their 20s get severely ill due to detrimental habits. So if you’re still young, don’t take your health for granted. Your 40s should be spent in relaxation and leisure, not in constant medication.