Does the term mid-life crisis mean anything to you? Well, some say that life (really) starts at forty…a time when your goals in life are either clearly defined (or partly accomplished), or in shambles…a time to think about healthy living!
For the wise ones (like you presumably…), getting healthy at 40 is not just an option…it’s a prerequisite.
Transitioning from young adulthood into the middle-age comes with its own bag-full-of-turmoil… your overall health is only one of the major concerns.
Turning 40 means that you have to deal with “realistic” future possibilities of suffering certain health conditions associated with advanced age such as cancer(s), cardiovascular problems, and other complications such as diabetes.
All those who maintain a healthy lifestyle until they’re 40 years old should continue to do so without faltering…those who don’t should quickly pick up the habit.
Here we’re talking about healthy habits like eating right, engaging in some exercising, quitting all forms of substance abuse including smoking tobacco (or moderating alcohol intake), and ensuring sufficient sleep.
This is basically avoiding all etiological factors that may lead to health risks and consequent chronic conditions.
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So How Can You Promote Self Healthy Living at 40?
Finding out details about your family’s health history is a good way to start. Certain health problems (or risks) may be as a result of some genetic predisposition.
All notable changes in your emotional, and mental health must be reported to your physician.
You should ask your doctor to recommend suitable procedures for immunization, screening, and general routine health exams.
Of course, you should also pay attention to your physical and social safety by adhering to laws and regulations that govern your day to day living.
What Health Concerns Are Common for 40 Year Olds?
Blood Sugar – The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that about 26 million Americans live with diabetes but only 14% of adults aged between 45 and 64 have been diagnosed. The rest live with the disease without any knowledge of the diabetic condition. The risk for diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, increases significantly with age.
Heart Health Indicators – These include homocysteine and triglycerides levels, High Cholesterol, RHR (resting heart rate), and blood pressure. Cases of Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Complications tend to develop slowly over time and the risks become even more amplified as individuals grow older. Individuals at 40 or older are more likely to face severe medical conditions such as stroke or heart attack. Medication or adopting certain lifestyle practices may be necessary to avert any occurrence of advanced heart related illnesses.
Sexual (and Reproductive) Health – Human sexuality is an integral part of your health at 40 (or in your 40’s) and the common dysfunctions experienced as individuals age include ED (erectile dysfunction) due to testosterone deficit and perimenopause for females, STIs or STDs (including HIV/AIDS), and BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) among others. Approximately 50% of men aged between 40 and 49 years suffer transient (or occasional) impotence but menopause may set in at age 51 or older. These conditions (especially menopause) may cause irritability, poor mental and emotional health, as well as hot flashes for the women.
Stress or Tension – Although the responsibilities that come with advanced age – specifically at 40 – are virtually unavoidable, any individual faced with general life issues such as family obligations, career choices, or finances can still avoid being overwhelmed by enjoying (and maintaining) close contact with loved ones, exercising/ physical activities, adopting better eating habits, and practically staying away from situations that may cause the development of stress.
Osteoporosis – It is a well known fact that peak bone strength and density dwindles gradually once an individual hits 40. This leads to weakened bones and thus the susceptibility to fractures among other related bone problems. Women who go into menopause at the age of 40 or older are at a higher risk of osteoporosis. This situation can be remedied through healthy diets and regular exercising.
Loss of Hearing or Vision – In addition to decreased senses of taste and smell, individuals in their 40’s may also experience changes in hearing and vision. You may find that you suddenly need glasses or worse, hearing aids.
Homeostatic Imbalances – These include conditions such as an erratic bladder or urinary (and sometimes defecation) incontinence, problems with the digestive system including complications like ulcers. Basically what happens once an individual hits 40 is that the entire body system goes haywire. Nothing seems to work like before.
Body Weight Issues – Your body’s BMI (Body Mass Index) is another issue that you have to deal with in your 40’s. Sometimes it becomes excessively hard to maintain your body weight even with a strict exercise regimen and a healthy diet. Your weight distribution determines whether your weight is healthy, or whether you’re on the verge of being overweight…or obese. Comparing your hip size to your waist size helps in estimating the risk of developing weight-related health issues.
Depression and Anxiety – Mental and emotional health become a great concern at 40 as a result of extreme mood changes, anxiety, loss of energy, the inability to experience pleasure, loss of interest leading to withdrawal from usual social interactions and/or activities, and basically an all round case of apathy towards matters that were previously important. Screening your mental health can help bring your “groove” back or at least make sure that you never lose it in the first place.
Problems of the Skin – Nobody wants alligator (or overly sensitive) skin but sadly this is a condition that cannot be helped for some individuals in their 40’s. Changes in skin type, aging spots, adult acne, wrinkles, and sun damage (occasionally leading to skin cancer) are just some of the skin health issues you have to deal with in your 40’s. Wearing sunscreen with an SPF rating of 15 or talking to a dermatologist is a good way to deal with skin-related problems.
Unremitting Ache – Finally, there’s the issue of everything aching. Back pain, tendonitis, arthritis, and generally painful joints also seem to be prevalent among individuals older than 40 years. Talking to your physician is very important when these symptoms are observed…or felt.
Recommendations For Healthy Living at 40
Different recommendations can be made for individuals based on the personal risk factors, family health history, and lifestyle choices made throughout the years.
Physicians can easily advice you on routine tests, medical exams, or screening procedures to help in health risk assessments.
The results can help encourage healthy lifestyles or provide general guidelines for living healthy at 40.
Here are some health-related recommendations for individuals in their 40’s…
* Immunization against hepatitis and pneumonia, sepsis, or meningitis as often as the doctor recommends; annual influenza shots; and a booster shot for tetanus every ten years.
* Women in their 40’s can get additional screening tests such as pelvic exams, breast or mammogram tests, pap smears, or bone density testing as often as recommended by the physician. On the other hand, men in their 40’s can get tested for testicular issues including risks for prostate cancer, as well as PSA testing.
* Generally, getting healthy at 40 requires you to have regular physical exams (every 2 or 3 years) or as recommended by a professional, dental check-ups and/or cleaning; screening for cholesterol levels, blood pressure, colorectal cancer, and diabetes; examining both baseline EKG and skin cancer risks; and lastly, a comprehensive hearing and vision exam.