These days seniors are living longer productive lives, being more active, and maintaining their health. When a woman reaches the age of 65 she can expect to live another 19 years on average, making it important to be aware of the health issues that women of this age are confronted with.
There are 12 things that women should know about their health and aging. These things include the health issues that may affect them and things they can do to stay healthy.
1. Heart disease – Women over 55 have more chance of having a heart attack than younger women. The symptoms of a heart attack for women can be quite different than with men. In a study, the most commonly reported symptoms were not chest pain or discomfort but fatigue, interrupted sleep, and shortness of breath. In many cases, women experienced these symptoms for as long as a month before actually having the heart attack.
2. Cancer – Older women must face the elevated chances of cervical, colon and breast cancer.
3. Stroke - Every year in this country 55,000 more women than men have strokes. Sixty percent of total deaths by stroke occur in women.
4. Injuries caused by falling.
5. Failing vision can often affects seniors, women or men. Vision tests and tests for glaucoma should be done every year.
6. Consequences of menopause like osteoperosis. The loss of hormones because of menopause can start to affect the bones around age 50. Senior women should continue to take Calcium with vitamin D to help prevent the onset of this degenerative bone disease.
7. Disabilities – The rate of disabilities in women is higher than in men because women with disabilities tend to live longer than a man with similar afflictions.
8. Senior women can lower the chances of becoming disabled by taking good care of their bodies with healthy diets, staying physically active and exercise regularly, controlling stress, and making regular visits to the doctor.
9. Senior women may have a lower income level than men. They may not have spent as much time working because of raising a family and all too often women make less money than men. This makes planning for financial future very important for senior women.
10. There are disparities in health for older women who are minorities. While they face the same health problems, their overall health is often not as good and they may not have as may health services available to them.
11. Good nutrition is vital for good health, especially in the later years. A diet that has lots of vegetables and fruit and fewer fats and processed food are recommended.
12. Keep a healthy weight. This can be done by following a health diet and getting regular exercises. Weight bearing exercises like walking will also help keep osteoporosis at bay.
Regular Testing for Certain Health Problems
Senior women should see a doctor on a regular basis and have standard screening tests to test for certain health issues. These include:
· Pap tests to check for cervical cancer.
· Mammograms that look for unusual lumps are masses in the breasts. It is very important for women over 50 to have one once a year.
· Either a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy to look for polyps that may be responsible for colon cancer.
· Bone density screenings to test the strength of the bones.