Preventive Health Care: Women’s Health Age 35 – 50

Everything you do today — the food you eat, the exercise you choose, your sleep, stress, and personal time (or lack thereof) — they all affect your future health. It’s called preventive health care, and for women, it’s very important to consider.

In fact, the choices you make today affect all of the following in the not-so-distant future:

  • Will you be an unhealthy weight?
  • Will you develop heart disease?
  • Will you suffer a stroke?
  • Will you develop osteoporosis?

If you’re between the ages of 35 and 50, you have a unique opportunity to positively impact your future health through the choices made today following preventive health care healthy habits.

Proactive management of your health risk factors through lifestyle choices and a preventative health care strategy is something you should address now with the help of your gynecologist and perimenopause specialist. Why? Because as you navigate through these years, your body is also changing as it approaches perimenopause and menopause.

The experts at Moreland OB-GYN have created these resources to help women make proactive health care decisions that will improve future wellness through early perimenopause, perimenopause, and early menopause.

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Perimenopause: How to Prepare

Between the ages of 35-50, you have the opportunity to change the course of your future health by adopting healthy habits and a preventative health care focus. At the same time, your body is continuing its evolution toward menopause — the point in time when you no longer menstruate.

As you start to feel early perimenopause symptoms, prioritizing healthy life choices and habits can not only improve your symptoms, it can help prevent future disease.

What is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause refers to the time period when a woman’s body is transitioning to menopause; from predictable, regular menstrual cycles to irregular cycles, and finally no menstruation at all.

No matter what age you are, before you begin having irregular periods, you may experience some changes in how you feel, your emotions, and your hormone levels may fluctuate. In many instances, these are not medically related, but rather lifestyle related.

  • In your mid- to late-30s – you may notice changes in mood, increased stress and emotions.
  • In your 40s – you may notice more pronounced symptoms of PMS and PMDD, more drastic swings in mood, and irregular menstruation.

Some clinicians refer to this period as the menopausal transition, but for a 40-year-old who is done having kids, you are likely not pre-menopausal; instead, you’re perimenopausal.Women’s preventive health

Health Risks for Women After Age 35

Family. Career. Managing the household. Caring for elderly parents. These are just some of the things you may manage on a daily basis. But the stress you feel now (and your lack of time to focus on your own health) can lead to future women’s health problems and disease.

Consider these examples:

  • Osteoporosis. Breaking a bone is the first sign you might have osteoporosis. There are no other symptoms you can see.
  • Heart attack. Many people have a scare or silent heart attack and then decide they need to clean up their diet and exercise routine.

Your preventive health care starts today. With many diseases, you are not going to experience symptoms now, only once the disease has already developed.women's health test

If you are not actively managing your risk factors for future illness between the ages of 35-50, you could be at risk for developing:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis

To help you manage and prevent future disease, keep reading to see what tests and screenings you might encounter at your next visit to the doctor.

Tests and Health Screenings for Women Over 35

After the age of 35, additional tests and health screenings for women are often introduced at your annual appointment. Talk to your gynecologist or women’s health doctor to make sure you have all of the appropriate women’s health tests completed as you age.

  • Annual exam. You should have a doctor exam completed every year, which includes a full check-up and breast exam.
  • Pap smear. Based on age and past test results, a pap smear may be recommended annually.
  • Mammogram. Without a family history of cancer, women should start having mammograms in their early 40s. Earlier cancer screenings may be recommended if you have a history of breast cancer in your family.
  • Lipid screening. This blood test should be completed every 5 years and is used to test cholesterol levels.
  • Thyroid screening. Many women report symptoms of fatigue, increased weight gain, and depression between the ages of 35-50 and sometimes these can be caused by an over- or underactive thyroid. A blood test is typically completed every 5 years.
  • Fasting blood sugar diabetes test. As you approach mid-life, you should be tested regularly for diabetes. Your doctor may recommend tests every 5 years.

With an understanding of your health risk factors after age 35 and the additional tests you may require as you age, what’s the best way to be proactive and take charge of your health?

Prioritize your health, first, with women’s preventive health care support.

Have a few minutes? Take this short quiz and find out how you can start to improve your future health today!

How to Develop Healthy Habits for Women

You always place everyone’s needs ahead of your own, only now, you have to realize that doing so can put your own health at risk.

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To help manage your future health, you should focus on the areas of your life you can control and take proactive steps to focus on improvement, such as:

  • What you eat
  • How much you exercise
  • Stress management
  • Adequate sleep
  • Consistent medical support
  • Managing your changing hormones

When it comes to your healthcare, think about preventative healthcare, versus reactive healthcare. When you have your annual appointment, ask more questions, get more involved in your own health and find a doctor who feels the same way about empowering you to take control of your own health.

Not only will making healthy choices help you, think of the impact it will have on those around you.

  • If your children notice you choose to quit smoking, prioritize healthy choices, and take time each week for exercise, they’ll understand what it takes to manage a healthy lifestyle.
  • Your healthy habits can be contagious, encouraging others to make similar positive choices and teaching your family members to value their health.

You have the opportunity to set the course of your future health. Here’s how to get started.

Understand Women’s Hormones As You Age

As women age, many complain that changing hormone levels are the cause of fluctuating emotions and changes in their body. Here are just some of the key hormones in women’s bodies and the role each hormone plays in everyday life:

Preventive Healthcare

  • Estrogen. Aside from its importance to childbearing, estrogen helps to keep cholesterol in control, contributes to protecting bone health and affects your brain (including mood), heart, skin and other tissues throughout the body.
  • Progesterone. Women who suffer from low progesterone may experience abnormal uterine bleeding, irregular or missed periods, and spotting.
  • Testosterone. Small amounts of testosterone are produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands and released into the bloodstream, where it contributes to a woman’s sex drive, bone density, and muscle strength.

Hormonal imbalances can be the culprits for some of the symptoms that women at or over 40 experience, but in many cases, it’s not hormones that are causing women to experience changes in the bodies and energy level — it’s lifestyle factors.

In many circumstances, the problems women experience after kids and as they approach perimenopause and menopause are actually related to stress and lifestyle factors. Continue reading to learn more about how to help your everyday health.

What Women Should Eat At Every Age

Eating a balanced diet is an essential part of overall good health. But what exactly makes up a healthy eating regime? Despite what trending and fad diets will tell you, eliminating full categories of foods, like carbs or sugar, is not realistic for the long-term, nor your best approach to a healthy lifestyle.

Your best approach to a healthy future is to make permanent changes to your eating habits that you can sustain, with balance; the healthy foods your body needs with some of the treats you likely enjoy…

  • Most foods you eat should have a significant nutritional value, not empty calories.
  • Avoid highly processed foods, and choose fresh options.
  • Eat a lot of plant-based foods, like vegetables and fruits.
  • Eat whole grains, fewer processed grains.
  • Limit soda and sugary drinks.
  • Limit alcohol intake.

Stress management tips

Women’s health after 35, women’s health after 40, women’s health after 45 — they are more similar than you think! Keep reading to learn more about healthy habits you can adopt to help improve your overall health!

Which areas of your healthy lifestyle need improvement? Take a quiz and find out how you can start today!

Exercise Tips for Women

The Department of Health and Human Services recently published the 2nd edition of The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. What’s recommended for adults? At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity and 2 days per week of muscle-strengthening activity. Your exercise should emphasize strength, flexibility, conditioning and stress management, not just weight loss.

Moreover, a key finding in the study was that regular physical activity over months and years can produce long-term health benefits. 

As you incorporate exercise into your healthy habits, be sure to consider a variety of activities.

  • Maintaining muscle is important because as we age, we lose muscle mass.
  • Weight training and resistance bands can help improve muscle mass and bone health, as well as produce great cardio and fat burning effects.

The most important thing to consider — every little bit counts. If you have 10 minutes free, go for a walk. If you have the choice, take the stairs. In fact, it doesn’t matter if your active minutes are broken up in 10- or 15-minute increments, it just matters that you get your active minutes each week.

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How Women Can Maintain Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Your future health depends on the healthy decisions you make today. Here are our top health tips for women to help you get on track for a healthy future.

Don’t Let Your Limitations Stop You
If you have knee problems, a busy family, limited time, that’s okay — you can still make healthy choices. Take every opportunity you can to work in healthy habits, especially when it comes to exercise. Vary the type of exercise to limit stress on certain joint or body areas.

Think About Bone Health
You never really worry about them, but your bones are very important, especially as you age. Maintaining bone mass should be near the top of your to-do list; it’s easy to do with weight-bearing exercise, which forces you to work against gravity.

Examples of weight-bearing exercises include: weight training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing. In addition, make sure you are getting enough Calcium and Vitamin D. Learn more about our Tone Your Bones exercise classes and osteoporosis on our website.

Get Your Daily Dose of Calcium and Vitamin D
Incorporating Calcium and Vitamin D into your daily routine is important. Calcium can be found in dairy products, milk, cheese, yogurt, almond milk, soy milk, spinach, broccoli, and legumes, and in calcium-fortified foods, like orange juice.

Vitamin D is needed to help calcium get into the bones. If you live in a sunny climate, you may be getting enough Vitamin D from the sun during the summer months. To be sure, your body needs 1000 mg of calcium and Vitamin D daily. In the Northern Hemisphere during the winter, you may need to increase your intake of Vitamin D to 2000mg a day. Try to get the nutrients in your diet, but take a supplement if you are not able to get enough.

Early menopause

Read Labels, Carefully
Packaging is designed to entice you to buy, and how labels are worded can often be a little bit misleading. For example, Vitamin Water, despite its name, is full of sugar. Processed foods may claim health benefits, but whole foods are usually a better choice. Read your labels carefully and look for ingredients you can read and pronounce.

Get Vaccinated
Putting your health first also means making sure you are protected from common illness and disease. Get your annual flu shot to protect you and your loved ones, and also be sure you are up to date on Tdap.

Healthy Sleep Habits for Women

Sleep is an important but often overlooked part of your physical and mental health, and preventive health care. To help boost your overall health and energy level, try to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep every night.

To do this, you might find it helpful to:

  • Create a bedtime routine to help your body recognize that it is almost time for rest and recovery.
  • Avoid tablet or cell phone use one hour before your bedtime to help quiet the brain.
  • Remove any computers or televisions from your room, so you know the bedroom is just for rest and sex.

Stress Management Tips for Women

One of the most significant changes you can make today is to take control of your stress level. Left unchecked, stress can negatively affect your overall health.

How can women manage stress? Follow these tips:Women's health problems

  • Reduce your workload. Reduce your workload on the job and at home by delegating tasks and working with family members and/or your partner to get tasks done. Moreover, recognize that some tasks can probably be left undone!
  • Exercise. People often think of exercise as being good for the body, but it is good for the mind as well. Exercise can help reduce stress, fuel the body with endorphins, and help combat anxiety and depression.
  • Get some sleep. People often overlook the benefits of a good night’s rest. Restorative sleep can boost your mood, improve your cognitive abilities, and reduce tension and stress.
  • Eat well, more frequently. You might be surprised to hear that food can affect your mood. Spikes in sugar and lack of nourishment can lead to swings in mood and behavior you might not even be aware of. Consider having small, frequent meals to keep your body and your mind nourished and to help combat irritability.

PMS and PMDD in Perimenopause

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) affect millions of women nationwide before they get their monthly cycle.

After childbearing age, during perimenopause, and before menopause, some women report an increase in PMS and PMDD symptoms. As such, it is important to understand how to recognize if you are experiencing these feelings and that there are options that can help you.

Symptoms of both PMS and PMDD can include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Feelings of fatigue and exhaustion
  • Bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle and/or joint pain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Food cravings

PMS and PMDD can also cause feelings of depression and anxiety. In contrast to PMS, PMDD typically has stronger symptoms and more intense feelings of anxiety and depression, and for some women, it can be a debilitating condition. It is thought that these conditions are a result of changing progesterone hormone levels and your gynecologist or perimenopause doctor can talk to you about your symptoms and how best to manage them.

Considering options like an Intrauterine Device (IUD) as contraception can reduce periods and related PMS and PMDD symptoms.

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Best Birth Control After Pregnancy When Your Family is Complete

As you navigate through perimenopause, it is important to consider family planning options that work for you. When you’ve decided to stop adding to your family, finding the right birth control or contraception can be a challenge.

As you get older, your cycles can become irregular and you can even have months where your hormones do not follow the normal pattern and pregnancy can occur. Ensure that you have a contraceptive plan in place to reduce your stress level and manage your monthly cycle.

Here are some birth control options for women after pregnancy when your family is complete:

  • Daily contraceptive pill. Provides a daily dose of hormones to help prevent pregnancy, and can help periods be regular and alleviate night sweating or hot flashes.
  • Intrauterine Device (IUD). Inserted at an in-office appointment, this hormone-releasing device can last for 3 to 5 years and can be removed at any time. In addition, there are other in-office options that can be removed at any time, do not release hormones, and can last up to 10 years.
  • Progestin Implant. A small plastic implant placed under your arm that releases a progestin hormone to prevent pregnancy.
  • Progestin Shot. An injection of a progestin hormone can be given in your doctor’s office and can provide 90 days of contraceptive coverage.
  • Sterilization Procedures. A vasectomy or tubal ligation procedure can offer permanent pregnancy prevention.

Discussing the best options for you and your lifestyle is an important conversation you should have with your gynecologist. Meet the Moreland OB-GYN team now, to learn more. 

What Should You Look for in a Doctor?

early perimenopause symptomsEvery medical practice and every physician has a different approach to patient care and treatment.

When it comes to women’s health after pregnancy when your family is complete, or as you prepare for perimenopause, finding a doctor who prioritizes proactive and preventive healthcare and helping you develop prevention strategies is a must.

It’s important to find a doctor you like and trust. With the help and support of your physician and medical team, you can make the transition into perimenopause with confidence.

Regardless of your primary care doctor, insurance provider or health system, keep in mind that you control your own care, and in many cases, you have the option to choose your healthcare provider.

Interested in learning more? Get to know Moreland OB-GYN. 

What Should You Talk to Your Doctor About?

As you approach your next physician visit, here are a few things you may want to consider discussing with your doctor if you fall between the ages of 35 and 50.

  • Healthy eating habits
  • Am I exercising enough, the right way?
  • Sleep habits
  • Stress management
  • Bone health
  • Vaccinations
  • What should I expect as I approach perimenopause?
  • What should I expect as I approach menopause?
  • What else can I do improve my health?
  • What can I do to improve my health now, and in the future?
  • Family history of disease and what can I do to help prevent disease?

If you fall between the ages of 35 and 50, it’s important to know that these years are the building blocks for your future health — your doctor should work with you to ensure you are building a strong foundation.

What You Can Do to Optimize Your Health?

As you’ve read through this page, you likely recognize that you are in a unique period of your life between the ages of 35 and 50.

Not only are you managing the everyday stresses of life, but your body is changing to prepare for perimenopause and menopause. Moreover, your healthy choices have the ability to combat stress and improve your overall health and reduce symptoms caused by your changing body.

How can you optimize your health?

Make the choice to start today. Adopt healthy habits and begin to see the difference it can make in your day-to-day life.

Proactive care with an emphasis on women’s preventive health, not merely addressing problems as they arise, is what you’ll find at Moreland OB-GYN.

Whether you are a busy mom, business professional, caregiver, or all of the above, you deserve a medical provider who focuses on you, your future health, and disease prevention strategies.

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Doctor’s Advice On Healthy Habits and Perimenopause

As your body is evolving toward perimenopause and menopause, your life is full of highs, lows, stresses and hopefully a lot of fun. During this time, our team of obstetricians and gynecologists advise you to remember to slow down and take time for yourself.

Sustained habits lead to change, and change takes time.

There’s an old adage that says it takes 21 days to form a habit, so remember that changing aspects of your lifestyle, like sleep, healthy eating, and exercise, all take time. Change is hard for everyone but the payoffs are significant, especially if you are between the ages of 35 and 50.

As you work with your doctor to make the right plan for you, remember to be practical and realistic. Challenge yourself to change one healthy habit at a time, so you see and feel the results, and so your habits become permanent lifestyle changes. Working slowing over time on lifestyle adjustments will help reduce failure and help you feel confident that you can reach your healthy goals.

Moreover, adjusting lifestyle habits like sleep, stress management, eating, and exercise, can help lessen the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause and help you transition through this period of your life successfully.

At Moreland OB-GYN, we specialize in women’s preventive health care and prioritizing the needs of our patients. We hope you’ll connect with us to help answer your questions and we hope you’ll turn to our experts as a trusted resource for information.

preventative health care

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