5 Health Concerns Women Over 40 Should Monitor

These characteristics are as follows:

Asymmetry: Common moles are usually symmetric.  Atypical moles are often asymmetrical: A line drawn through the middle would not create matching halves.

Border: Common moles are typically round.  Atypical moles tend to be irregular and/or hazy — the mole gradually fades into the surrounding skin.

Color: Common moles are most often uniformly tan, brown or flesh-colored.  While atypical moles have varied, irregular color with subtle, haphazard areas of tan, brown, dark brown, red, blue or black.

Diameter: Atypical moles are generally larger than 6 mm (¼ inch), the size of a pencil eraser, but may be smaller.

Evolution: Enlargement of or any other notable change in a previously stable mole, or the appearance of a new mole after age 40, should raise suspicion.

If you find see a change in shape or color of an existing mole or have concerns regarding new moles that may have appeared, it is suggested that you have them examined by your family physician or a dermatologist

2. Blood Pressure

Because high blood pressure usually has no symptoms, you should visit your doctor regularly to make sure that your numbers are at a healthy level. 

People with high blood pressure have a greater risk of stroke and heart disease.  However, knowing your status gives you great advantage.

High blood pressure can usually be controlled with proper diet, exercise, and medication if necessary.

Chart displays the 4 blood pressure categories defined by the American Heart Association

3. Know Your Bone Density

Following a healthy diet and staying active are extremely beneficial when it comes to good bone health.

But if you are experiencing things such as wrist or back pain, then you may want to be screened for Osteoporosis.

According to science, bone is constantly broken down and replaced.  However, when bone renewal no longer keeps up with bone removal, bones weaken, and Osteoporosis occurs.

Some common symptoms are:

  • Bone fractures due to mild activity
  • Back pain
  • Loss of height
  • Bent over posture
  • Bone & joint pain

If you know that you have a family history of Osteoporosis, you may be able to help prevent it by getting enough Calcium, Vitamin D, and weight bearing exercises, according to Dr. Aurelia Nattiv, MD of the UCLA Osteoporosis Center.

Speaking with your doctor about this issue can help you early on so that you receive the proper testing and treatment.

4. Breast Health

Performing self-breast examinations and paying close attention to any changes in your breasts is key to the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society states that women who are at average risk for breast cancer, follow these guidelines for screening:

Women between 40 and 44 have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.

Women 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.

Women 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms.

Screening should continue if a woman is in good health and expected to live 10 more years or longer.

Know your family’s history of breast cancer and informing your physician of your breast history will help greatly with getting the best results when being screened for breast cancer.

5. Uterine Health

Although Pap Smear and pelvic exams typically start at around the age of 21, they should be performed in women every three years according to the Mayo Clinic.

These tests are performed to help with testing for cervical cancer and uterine health.  It is recommended that Pap smear testing continue from the ages of 21 to 65.

These exams may also include additional testing for (HPV) or the human papillomavirus.  This is a sexually transmitted infections that can cause cervical cancer.

It has further been found that these tests may be stopped once the patient reaches the age of 65 if there have been no previous signs of cervical cancer.

Monitor these health issues closely to help maintain good health.