In Your 40s
Life in your 40s can be filled with transitions that bring on high levels of stress. You may be taking care of everyone at home—growing children and aging parents—while also working hard to achieve milestones in your career.
Self-care is especially important during this phase of your life. Along with the demands of everyday responsibilities, your body is going through subtle hormonal changes that can raise your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and other chronic illnesses.
Maintaining healthy habits now will help you stay physically and mentally fit in later years, too.
Important Stats for Women Your Age
Here are some facts you need to know for a healthier life.
10 Steps to Better Healthcare
Not sure where to start? Here are healthy steps you can take today:
- Schedule a mammogram and perform monthly breast self-exams.
- If you're having trouble conceiving, talk to a fertility specialist.
- Share pregnancy history with your doctors to monitor for future medical conditions.
- Start managing weight gain in perimenopause.
- Discuss menopause symptoms with a gynecologist.
- Have your thyroid function tested.
- Get tested for STDs or HIV screening if you’re sexually active.
- Reach out for help with depression, anxiety or other mental conditions.
- Check your skin and moles regularly and discuss any changes with your doctor or nurse.
- Ask about contraception options.
Screenings & Vaccinations
Because you’re now at an increased risk for health issues, it’s important to keep up with the following recommended screenings:
- Flu shot: every year, before flu season
- Clinical breast exam: every year
- Mammogram: every year
- Cervical cancer screening: pap test every 3 years
- Pelvic exam: every year
- STD and HIV screening: if you’re sexually active
- Blood pressure screening: every 2 years
- Cholesterol blood panel: every 2 years, starting at 45
- Bone-density screening: discuss with your doctor
- Eye exam: every 2 years
- Dental exam: every year; cleaning twice a year
- Depression screening: as needed
- Tdap vaccine booster (tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough): every 10 years
Personalized Care in Your 40s
Cedars-Sinai is available to answer questions or help you get started with the care you need in these important areas:
14 Tips for Healthy Living
This advice will help you stay well throughout your 40s:
- Eat a healthy diet of whole foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise daily.
- Get regular medical checkups.
- Get the tests and vaccinations your doctor recommends.
- Do regular self-exams of breasts, skin and other body parts.
- If you have a family history of diabetes, check your A1c blood sugar levels regularly.
- Don't smoke, vape or abuse substances.
- Maintain an active and enjoyable social life.
- Use protection during sexual activity.
- Wear a seat belt, and don't drink, use drugs or text while driving.
- Get plenty of sleep every night.
- Find ways to manage your stress.
- Don't forget to take care of yourself, even if you're busy helping others.
- Use sunscreen or SPF-coated clothing to protect yourself from ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Understanding Your Body's Changes
You may have questions as your body is going through subtle hormonal changes. Browse these frequently asked questions.
Every 1-2 years. Because official guidelines vary, and every woman's risk factors for breast cancer are different, talk to your doctor about the schedule and frequency that's best for you. If you have dense breasts, your doctor may order an ultrasound or follow-up tests for further detection.
Perimenopause is the transition to menopause that often starts for women in their early 40s. You're likely to experience physical, emotional and psychological changes as the levels of hormones in your body rise and fall. Still, you should discuss your symptoms with a gynecologist to be sure they aren't caused by an underlying medical condition.
As you age, your metabolism tends to slow down. It gets easier to put on weight and more challenging to take it off. Much of it may land around your belly. Ask your doctor about nutrition and weight loss programs that could help you stay in good shape.
Conceiving in your 40s can be challenging, due to waning hormones, an aging egg supply and other factors. Discuss your options with a fertility specialist—and if you do become pregnant, talk to an obstetrician or high-risk pregnancy specialist to deal with possible complications.
Disclaimer: These are general guidelines for people in your age group, but every individual is different. Talk to your doctor about your personal medical needs.
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