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When you are in your 40s…Not quite old, not quite young!

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women-in-40sTwo weeks ago I hit the BIG long anticipated 4 and 0 – FORTY years of age! It felt great to be in the league. If you have recently joined this age bracket, you will know what I mean.

It feels amazing, invincible and fabulous to be 40. Like the say, 40 is the new 20! The reason is not far fetched. In today’s world, 40s and over generally feel happier and more confident than those in their 20’s.

Recent studies reveal that 56 per cent of women over 40 believe they look younger than their actual age. That isn’t far from the truth because I got such compliments when I posted my pictures on my birthday.

No doubt, Your 40s are considered a mid-point, the top of the hill. It is a big and very important milestone hence the saying “Life Begins At Forty”. Nonetheless, you’ve got miles yet to go but certain challenges and health hazards can send you downhill if your are not careful and that is the essence of this article – areas of your life you should pay close attention to as you turn forty regardless of the excitement and “fabulosity”.

Forties is the age bracket where women feel society’s pressure to remain beautiful and attractive the most. The pressure to look “the new 20” comes on real. But the truth is we can’t deny it: time passes, and our bodies change. It is the law of nature.

As we age, our overall health becomes like the weather; it will blow hot and then sometimes it’s cold…sometimes it’s sunny, sometimes it’s stormy. So we have a little aches here and a little pain there; knee pains, back pain and al that. This could occur as a result of varied factors like hormonal changes, genetics and our lifestyle choices.

Therefore the key to enjoying your forties is to stay as healthy as possible. Rather than focusing too much on what we look like, pay more attention to what you feel like because your health is more important than your age. A body that is free of illness or any medical complications eats healthy, exercises and abstains from smoking, heavy alcohol use or obesity performs better. That is to say, if you’re in your 40s and healthy, you can be said to be biologically 25! In the same vein, we have 25-year-old women who are biologically 40 because of the way they used their bodies. But the biological age is more relevant than chronological age.

In the forties, a woman’s body begins to reject what was once normal due to hormonal fluctuations. So they begin to experience unexplainable weight gain, which is often referred to as middle age spread, and therefore cloths don’t quite fit like before. Some may experience Insomnia, menstrual cycle too becomes irregular, fatigue sets in regularly and even tempers can rise spasmodically.

Other Physical symptoms of Women in 40s include:
Headaches
hot flashes
vaginal dryness
hair loss
unwanted hair growth
urinary dysfunction
heart palpitations
weight redistribution
wrinkling
changes in libido
night sweats
dizziness
acne
water retention and bloating
dry skin

Emotional symptoms that could be experienced are:
sense of urgency
mood swings
anxiety
difficulty multi-tasking
fatigue
difficulty concentrating
short-term memory loss
anger
fuzzy thinking

Beyond these physiological and psychological instabilities, this is also a time to check Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and Blood Sugar habitually. Even if you feel as fit as a fiddle, this time is when you see your Doctor regularly for random checks. These check-ups will help you avoid serious medical challenges in the future, as some of these conditions do not exhibit any symptoms in the early stages. A simple blood test can check and detect any precarious condition early.

Other checks women in their 40s must undergo are:
MAMMOGRAM: Women ages 40 to 49 may have a mammogram every 1 to 2 years.

PELVIC EXAM AND PAP SMEAR: You should have a Pap Smear every 3 years. If you have both a Pap smear and human papilloma virus (HPV) test, you may be tested every 5 years. HPV is the virus that causes genital warts and cervical cancer.

DIABETES SCREENING: If you are over age 44, you should be screened every 3 years. Also, if you are overweight or your blood pressure is above 135/80 mm Hg, or you have other risk factors for diabetes, you may need to test your blood sugar level for diabetes.

CHOLESTEROL SCREENING: Begin cholesterol screening between the ages of 40 to 45. Once cholesterol screening has started, your cholesterol should be checked every five years.

EYE EXAM: Have an eye exam every 2 to 4 when you are between ages 40 to 54. The checks could be more frequent eye exams if you have vision problems or Glaucoma risk. Have an eye exam at least every year if you have diabetes.

This age bracket is critical to making healthy lifestyle changes like not only to eat right but to exercise and make sure bone mass and muscles are thriving. TRUTH is that women must eat differently starting in their 40’s because of those hormonal fluctuations that won’t allow them eat the same way they were before now.

Forties can be one of the best times of a woman’s life emotionally, sexually and physically. Some even tend to have an increased libido at this age. It is the time that prepares you for the menopausal times ahead so lead a healthier lifestyle, make wise choices and enjoy a smooth sailing ride into the transition years ahead!


In this article:
Mercy Makinde
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