Getting Healthy at 40

Getting Healthy at 40

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.

So how can you promote self healthy living at 40?

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.

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18 thoughts on “Getting Healthy at 40

  1. Great article. Looks like it was specifically written for me, thanks.

    I’m in my early 40’s, never been happier but let’s face it, there are physical and psychological changes that will take place that are just beyond my control. And that is why I am really trying to be more conscious of my eating and sleeping habits. Most people say that as we get older we will require less hours of sleep but I don’t think that’s accurate. I am still aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep.

    Our health and immunity start to decline as we age and that’s when several illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes will start to manifest. Thank God that I am not suffering from any of those and I don’t have a problem being overweight. But for women who have a family history of any of these, your recommendations are valuable.

    What I am concerned about is maintaining a healthy and young looking skin. I think regular exercise, drinking lots of water and eating more fruits and veggies are a great way to do it.

    By the way, you recommend taking some vitamins or food supplements?

    1. Hi Alice, 

      I take a selection of supplements every day! I’m paranoid about my overall heart health (a scare two years ago!) so I load up on heart healthy supplements every afternoon (co enzyme, magnesium, vitamin B, aloe vera…).

      It’s really up to you at the end of the day – do you feel like you need to top up the ‘good stuff’ going into your body?

  2. I agree that you need to take care of yourself from 40+ I’m still in my 40s and first heard about 5 years ago of 3 guys around my age who were having heart attacks and 2 even died from it.  Tragic!  So I got my coronary calcium scan checked and highly recommend it to anyone in 40s – particularly males. Stress is a big one too and the associated depression and anxiety which can result. Living in sunny Australia I agree that skin cancer checks are very important too. Great post and the more you read and implement, especially healthy diet, lifestyle, exercise and nutrition…the better!

    1. I know what you mean John – I’m 43 and I’m a bit paranoid these days about the old heart, especially when you hear about so many men dying young! 

  3. Hey I think you wrote the article with me in mind, I am 47. and have a few health issues, after reading your post I think I doing a lot of things wrong oops, I do visit the doctor regularly though. But other than that I think I failed your healthy after 40 test.  I will now strive to correct what I am doing wrong. will have to come back to this a couple times though as I have a bit to work on.

    Thank you for your guidance

    Sam Frederiksen

    1. Well at least you’re trying Sam, and visiting the doctor for check ups regularly (something which I don’t do!). Glad you found some worth in our content mate. 

  4. I am aware of the need to start monitoring what we eat and do critically, in our 40’s. I am not yet in my 40’s but i know for fact that its never too late to start. Watching the food you take and when you take them will go a long way in making you principled with your health. I agree that regular blood sugar check be done as well as watching your stress level. Be the best you can be in what you do but live a healthy lifestyle. Thanks for the great article

    1. That’s the coolest line I’ve heard today Samson mate – Be the best you can be in what you do but live a healthy lifestyle!

      I may steal that for an article headline! 🙂

  5. Hi Chris,

    Awesome article, I really loved the reading!

    I am in my forties now, but I feel great! In fact, today, I know what I want, I exercise more than I ever did before and I eat more healthy too. I think it’s because I am afraid of getting older and getting sick, so I do everything I can to avoid illness. I also love to stay pretty, which is not less critical 🙂 I would like to take some supplements. Do you think I should first do blood tests or it doesn’t really matter?

    Thank you for this excellent post!

    1. Hi Daniella, 

      Sorry I’m a little bit lost with that question – I’ve probably taken it the wrong way, but why are you looking into blood tests? Could you be a little more specific maybe? 🙂

  6. It seems that 40 it’s like crossing on the other side. I think if you took care of your health before 40, crossing 40 should not change this habit. Personally, I consider, being healthy as a lifestyle and we should teach our children the same. Yearly, I’m doing my check-ups, the same you mentioned. I consider that we should make a habit of doing these annual check-ups.

    Thank you for an interesting reading.

    1. Hi Dany, 

      Yeah I mention these check ups frequently, and I probably should follow my own advice more often! Even though I keep fit – I don’t go for check ups as often as I should! 

  7. What a great website!! Am over  my 40’s, never been happier but let’s face it, there are physical and psychological changes that will take place that are just beyond my control. And that is why I am really trying to be more conscious of my eating and sleeping habits. Most people say that as we get older we will require less hours of sleep but I don’t think that’s accurate. I am still aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep. this calorie ninja is of great help to me as I can picture what exactly is required of me at this my age

    1. Yeah I’m the same really mate – I always need at least seven hours of sleep, and that’s what I get most nights (I’m in my early 40’s). 

  8. Thank you for sharing this health game changer to getting healthy at 40. I must confess this article is very informative and would help our health more than we imagine. 

    Knowing the health concerns that are common for 40 year olds would be a great medium to make things right now. Blood sugar is probably more concern to me. Diabetes is rampant as a result of excessive sugar intake via different foods and drinks we take. This article will be a game changer in our health.

    PS: I thought the saying was “Life begins at 30”?

    1. No mate – it’s supposed to be ‘Life Begins at 50’…but modern times have changed it to 40! 

      (Don’t make it more depressing by changing it to 30!)  🙂

  9. As someone who turn 40 in less than 2 years, this was an eye open for me! the list of possible issues especially – blood sugar, heart, depression & anxiety is troubling. is there any form of exercise one could do that doesn’t involve expensive gyms or lots of free time?

    1. Hi Tarun, 

      Well my main route of exercise is cardio through running every morning – all you need is about an hour and you’re done for the day!!!

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