Now often considered the best years as you settle into your career and life, your 40s can also be stressful as you become sandwiched between raising a family and caring for aging parents. The pressures involved can lead to stress-related disorders such as depression, high blood pressure and heart disease. It is important to get enough rest, to exercise and to eat a well-balanced diet to maintain your health and prepare for the onset of menopause. Good health choices now are vital to keep you looking and feeling great and to prevent the onset of many chronic diseases.
Your 40s are a good time to revamp your fitness routine to include muscle and strength-building exercises in order to counteract the effect of bone loss. You should be getting at least 30 minutes of exercise each day to help you regulate cholesterol, control weight, strengthen bones, lower cancer risk, reduce depression and ease the unpleasant symptoms of menopause.
Rite of Passage: Menopause
Symptoms of menopause may occur as early as the late 30s or early 40s and last for a few months to five years or more. When menopause begins, bone loss also escalates dramatically, increasing your need for calcium. The ability to get enough sleep is another important health issue for women during this decade. Menopause can cause sleepless nights, night sweats and palpitations. Make sleeping easier by avoiding caffeine and exercise late in the day.
The number of health tests and screenings you need to keep track of in your 40s may seem daunting, but they are an important regimen to establish. Breast cancer is still relatively rare, affecting about one in every 68 women, but because treatment is most successful when the disease is caught early, mammograms should start now. The same applies to a blood sugar test for diabetes. And, as long as you are sexually active, you should continue with regular Pap smears and pelvic exams. A doctor should also check your skin for unusual, changing or new moles and any unusual marks or bumps.