Contributed by- Dr. Pooja Chaudhary
Life begins at 40, but so does aches, rheumatism, faulty eyesight, and the tendency to tell a story to the same person, three or four times!
Reaching 40 is a milestone, signaling a time of transition from young adulthood to middle-age. It is that time of life where the risk of many health conditions increases. The fact is that muscle mass of our body decreases from about 45% of the total body weight in our youth to about 27% by the time we reach 70. This low muscle mass leads to a slow metabolism which in turn triggers fat gain. This means we burn fewer calories when we are past 40. Hence, it is more difficult to burn calories and sustain the muscle mass when you are over 40. This combination of slow metabolism, low muscle mass, and fat gain is majorly responsible for increased health risks.
The common health problems after 40 are as follows:
- Chronic pain: There is an increased risk for arthritis, back pain and other painful conditions like tendonitis.
- Blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, homocysteine levels and resting heart rates: These are the indicators of heart health, and they slowly alter as we age.
- Diabetes is a very common problem.
- Body Mass Index: Is the measurement which compares the waist size to your hip size and is used to help evaluate the risk for weight-related health problems.
- Stress, anxiety and depression
- Sexual and reproductive health: This is an important part of the overall health in the 40’s. The common issues are sexual dysfunction (e.g., female sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction), sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and infections (STIs) including HIV/AIDS, and contraception.
- Men’s health in the 40’s: Most men experience symptoms of testosterone deficiency, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, enlarged prostate) or transient erectile dysfunction. Occasional impotence also affects about 50% of men between the ages of 40 and 49.
- Women’s health after 40: Lot of women in their 40’s begin to experience symptoms of perimenopause e.g., hot flashes, irritability.
- Skin problems: Adult acne, sun damage, age spots, and wrinkles are often the concerns after 40.
- Changes in vision and hearing loss
- Urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, digestive problems, including ulcers are also the common concerns.
How To Stay Healthy In 40’s And Beyond
Staying healthy in 40‘s can more than double the chances of a healthy retirement. A good fitness regime combined with a balanced diet is the groundwork for a healthy later life.
Here is a guide to make your 40 fabulous:
Walk more and fast
Walking is not just an exercise but for many, it is the best way to connect with your inner self. In 40’s most people have more time compared to their earlier years. This is more due to settled professional and personal lives. Walking 45 minutes daily will not only rejuvenate you but will keep your metabolism rate high, helping you to burn calories and weight; hence warding all related diseases. For those already suffering from any lifestyle disease, walking will help you tame it.
Explore your family history
Your family medical history is a mirror to peek into your health risks. This is done to get more information about the diseases and conditions that run in the family. It is best to go back three generations for a complete record. A detailed family history can provide the key information to the physician. This will help in recommending the preventative measures to reduce the risk of conditions such as heart attack, stroke and different types of cancer.
Regular Health check-up
It is recommended to go for regular medical examination, screening procedures and routine tests in your 40’s. This will vary depending on gender, family history, overall health and personal risk factors.
It is recommended to add more fiber to your diet. This will normalize the bowel movements, lower cholesterol levels, help achieve a healthy weight, maintain bowel health and control blood sugar levels.
It is important to undertake some cardio activity 3 times a week for 30 minutes to stay fit and healthy. Also before starting any such routine, consult your doctor and check all your medical parameters to begin the most suitable schedule for yourself.
Know your numbers
It is important to keep a check on the levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglycerides. Measure your waist circumference, body mass index and also the body weight. Values and numbers that are out of range may indicate the presence of, or risk for developing, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Check your salt intake
It is important to keep a check on the salt intake. Too much of salt in the diet negatively impacts the blood pressure as it retains water in the body. It is this extra water that raises blood pressure. This, in turn, strains the heart, kidneys, arteries and the brain.
Few basic alterations in your lifestyle can give your big benefits. After all, age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind your age, it doesn’t matter. But, your lifestyle definitely matters. Alter it… and live naughty at 40!
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