Cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of death among ageing women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer accounted for 31.7% of deaths in women aged 45 to 54. This is followed by heart disease at 15.1% for the same age group. Their advancing age, coupled with the effects of unhealthy lifestyles, are making mature women all over the world more susceptible to cancer, especially the reproductive kind.
While there has yet to be a cure, cancer can be detected and treated early. Medical doctors suggest that adult women have regular checkups to ensure their health and well-being. Regular checkups and lab work can help detect heart problems, diabetes, and other health issues. This checklist will be helpful for you or your loved one who is of this age.
This is part of annual physical exams (APEs). If you have been having this done regularly in the past, it means that a doctor was able to monitor your chest for lumps, nodules, or any other abnormality. Besides the monthly self-examination, you may be advised to get a mammogram when you reach 40. This test is done once a year, especially for women who have risk factors such as an earlier problem in the chest area or a family history of cancer. Nowadays, digital mammograms are used to make the procedure less painful and uncomfortable for patients.
Another one of women’s least favourite procedures, pap smears are done to check for abnormalities in the cervix. It is a good way to prevent and detect cervical cancer, which is the 14th leading cancer in women in Australia. Doctors insert a speculum into the birth canal and gently scrape a sample of cells. The cells are tested for abnormal growth. For high-risk patients, doctors may recommend other exams alongside the regular pelvic exam and sexually transmitted infection swab.
Pap smears are not exactly painful, but they can be a little uncomfortable. To help women, some doctors warm the metal speculum a bit so that the patient is not jolted by the sensation of a cold, foreign object entering her body.
If you’ve reached the age of 40 without having been diagnosed with high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, you’re certainly in good shape. Depending on your condition, regular lab work can be prescribed every three months, especially if you are on maintenance medication. Besides checking your cholesterol levels, kidney and liver functions, doctors also want to monitor your blood sugar levels to make sure that you’re not developing diabetes. Adult-onset diabetes is prevalent in Australia, with 280 Australians being diagnosed with the disease every day. If your doctor suspects that you have diabetes, you can be asked to monitor your blood sugar with lab tests every three months to check your average levels.
Besides these three, women in their 40s are also screened for skin cancer, osteoporosis, poor eyesight, and even dental problems. As much as people hate to say it, your body is no longer as healthy as it used to be. A great diet, regular physical activity, and following your doctor’s recommendations will help you stay fit and illness-free for many, many years.