As a woman, you may feel invincible in your twenties, busy in your forties, and proud of all you have accomplished as you reflect in your sixties. But while you are working hard to reach all of the personal milestones that you have set for yourself, remember to take care of your body and be aware of the physical and hormonal changes happening along the way.
Whether it’s puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, these essential tips will help you maintain your health and well-being as you progress through the decades.
In Your Teens
- Establish healthy habits. When you adopt healthy practices in your teens, you are much more likely to maintain those habits in the future. Make healthy food choices, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and limit your screen time to keep your body feeling fresh and fit!
- Manage your stress. Your stress response can have significant short and long-term effects on your physical and emotional well-being. Learn to manage your stress by talking it out, taking deep breaths, lowering unrealistic expectations, and practicing yoga. If your stress continues to be overwhelming, talk to your parents about visiting a mental health specialist. And remember that you are not alone.
In Your 20s
- Learn your family’s medical history. Your family history can hold important clues about your risk for disease. Talk to your family, record and update information as necessary, and discuss any concerns about common conditions with your doctor. The best protection is early detection.
- Schedule your annual well-woman visit. During this visit, the care you receive will focus on you, your body, and your reproductive health. A well-woman exam also provides a time to discuss fertility questions, family planning options, and get screened for sexually transmitted infections (STI) like the human papillomavirus (HPV). Be honest with your doctor about any symptoms or concerns you may be experiencing to receive the best possible care.
In Your 30s
- Maintain your healthy habits. As your metabolism begins to slow, it is more important than ever to eat well, exercise regularly, sleep often, and use sunscreen to maintain current and future wellness. It’s also essential to take your vitamins. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D can protect against possible osteoporosis later in life.
- Manage your stress. Life in your thirties can be both exciting and busy! As you juggle kids, work, and social obligations, remember to set aside time for yourself to decompress. Pay special attention to your mental health and talk to your doctor if you begin to experience anxiety or depression.
In Your 40s
- Schedule your mammogram. 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. That’s why women should begin having yearly mammograms at age 40 or earlier if at a higher risk to prevent death from the disease. Don’t delay this vital screening.
- Get a checkup. Even if you aren’t high risk, you should get a regular checkup to ensure your physical well-being. Your exams should include diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol screenings. Talk to your doctor about symptoms of perimenopause as you enter this stage of mid-life.
In Your 50s-60s
- Get your screenings and immunizations. Talk to your doctor about certain vaccines or immunizations you may need. It is not uncommon for women in their fifties and sixties to receive vaccines for pertussis and shingles along with their annual flu shot. Women at this stage should also be aware of osteoporosis as bones become less dense. An osteoporosis screening or a bone density test can help detect your risk.
- Understand your risk of heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women. That’s why it’s important to be well informed and know which risk factors increase your probability of suffering from a heart attack, stroke, or vascular disease complications. Schedule your BHeart Healthy Screening today to aid in early detection and treatment.
In Your 70s+
- Focus on your cognitive health. Cognitive health is one of the main concerns for women in their 70s and older. You should remain physically, socially, and intellectually active to prevent significant memory loss or cognitive decline. Talk to your doctor if you begin to experience mental lapses that interfere with daily life.
- Get your hearing and vision checked. Early identification and intervention are crucial in minimizing the effects of dual sensory loss. Schedule regular hearing and vision exams with your doctor so that you can continue to socialize and live independently while improving your quality of life.
Keep in mind that this checklist is not comprehensive. Talk to your doctor about your specific health needs to develop a preventative health plan that’s right for you. Learn more about the women’s health services offered through Baptist Health.