AUGUST THE MONTH FOR MIDLIFE MATTERS
HEALTH MATTERS – BEING FIT AND HEALTHY IN MIDLIFE
In my first article on Midlife Matters, I wrote about making a choice between being a trail blazer or treading water in your comfort zone.
Our Health plays a vital part in this choice, because if we don’t look after our physical, mental and spiritual health there certainly won’t be any trail blazing!
So, let’s examine Health Matters and how we can be fit and healthy in midlife.
Midlife, although an exciting time of life, can also bring changes in our bodies which for some of us makes life difficult to deal with. The main offender is Menopause and some suffer more than others. I was a fortunate, but I believe that my symptoms were reduced because I exercise regularly and eat a healthy and well-balanced diet.
I recently had a guest writer Dr Catherine Hansen who wrote a series of articles on Menopause which were helpful and encouraging. You can click here if you would like to read the articles which cover areas such as hormonal changes, talking to your doctor and what is happening to you during this phase.
Health Checks for 40+
I’m not sure why but we don’t always think about regular health checks. We make sure our families are healthy and we even make time to have the car serviced, but we sometimes forget to make important health appointments which in some cases could save our lives.
Scheduling appointments at the same time each year or two, makes it easier to remember when they are due.
Here are 12 health checks that women of midlife should be scheduling regularly.
1. General Check-up
A visit to your GP at least annually should include a general check-up include checking your blood pressure, taking blood tests to check cholesterol levels, sugar levels (for Type 2 Diabetes) and hormone levels.
Whilst we all know that Self checks are a must to detect any changes in our breasts early, we aren’t always vigilant. Having a Mammogram every two years after we turn 40, or annually if you have a family history or previous diagnosis, should be at the top of your list.
3. Skin Cancers
Living in Australia, we all know about the damaging affect of the Sun. Skin Cancers (Melanoma) affect 1 in 3 Australians by the time they are 70 according to The Cancer Council of Australia . Making an appointment for regular skin checks to determine any changes in moles, freckles and spots that might appear to be skin cancer may help the outcome. Early detection can be a life saver.
4. Pap Smear
Pap Smears although not a pleasant experience for some are another MUST DO Test. Regular Pap Smears should be undertaken every two years to check for Cervical cancer – or more often if abnormal cells have been found. Read more about this screening here
5. Bone Density
Osteoporosis or low bone density is a risk especially after the age of 50. Weight training as part of your fitness regime will certainly help but how often do you hear of older people falling and breaking their hip? A Bone Density scan can detect any signs of Osteoporosis. Read more about what is involved with a Bone Density Scan here
6. Diabetes Screening
Did you know that Diabetes Australia suggests that “Diabetes is the epidemic of the 21st century and the biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system? Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes including Type 1 or Type 2. I think most people are more aware of Type 1 Diabetes however Type 2 Diabetes can go undiagnosed and the chance of developing Type 2 certainly increases with age.
Watch a Diabetes awareness video here to learn more.
7. Bowel Cancer Screening
I have regular screening for bowel cancer as my father suffered from this disease. Some tests can be done at home. A more comprehensive screening with a colonoscopy every one or two years from the age of 50 will show any changes or the presence of polyps or other signs of bowel cancer. Read more about bowel cancer screening here.
Are you starting to get wrinkles from squinting to read print clearly? A yearly eye examination will not only check your vision but also for signs of cataracts and glaucoma. Read more on looking after the health of your eyes here
At least an annual check-up or twice a year visit to the Dentist will keep your beautiful smile and also check for cavities, gum disease or general degeneration of teeth.
What did you say? Unfortunately, as we get older our hearing can be affected and I don’t mean the ‘SELECTIVE HEARING’ that we are sometime accused of having! Fortunately, most of us aren’t affected but for those over 65 an annual hearing test is advised.
11. Exercise Stress Test
If you have developed shortness of breath or chest pain an Exercise Stress test can show how well your heart performs under stress while exercising. If you don’t have chest pain but experience shortness of breath, your Doctor may recommend a Stress Test especially if there is a history of heart disease in the family.
12. Mental & Spiritual Health
Before you say there is nothing wrong with my mental health read what I have to say. We are all busy and sometimes our mental health needs a little TLC. That means finding some BALANCE in your life and taking time out to relax your mind, body and soul.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or even feel that you may be depressed, don’t feel self-conscious but rather feel confident to make an appointment with your GP to see if you are just feeling down or if you need some more specialised assistance.
So your task today is – MAKE APPOINTMENTS FOR HEALTH CHECKS
You can print off a FREE HEALTH CHECKLIST and start making those appointments today! Your life may depend on it!
Next in the Midlife Matters series, we look at Exercise and Diet for over 40’s to keep us fit, active and vital.
Who is Sue Loncaric Bio
Since taking early retirement, Sue found she needed more in her life and Sizzling Towards Sixty was born. Sue invites you to join her to ‘Ride the Wave of Midlife with Positivity, Fun and Laughter’
She shares her journey through midlife to encourage others to join with her in her quest to live a fit, active and fun life. Sue loves connecting with people and helping them realise their full potential to be the best they can be!
Her e-book ‘From Couchpotato to Fabulously Fit in Less Time than you Think’ has evolved into a Facebook Group #couchpotatotofabfit and encourages others to Get Healthier Together. Plans for online self-development courses are on the way. Read more about Sue right here.
You can follow Sue here