Stay positive, and keep up with your preventive care
Midlife is not the beginning of the end. It’s the beginning of the best years still to come. We mature and change, but many women feel most comfortable in their skin during midlife and beyond. You’ve acquired wisdom and experience, and perhaps more confidence. Your perspective and skills are sharpened.
Perhaps some nagging symptoms or body changes have inspired you to clean up your act and take care of your body, and as a result, you’re feeling better than ever.
Remember: You are in control. There are solutions and options for you as your body experiences this new phase in life, and only the very rare woman says that she regrets the absence of her monthly period.
It’s never too late to adopt healthy habits for the rest of our lives. Exercising really does counteract aging. Midlife can be the perfect time to reinvent yourself, learn a new skill, renew old friendships, and begin some new ones, as well as make new spiritual and/or career connections.
The more you know, the more you can control your vitality and health.
General Preventive Care – Screenings
- Breast cancer screening, starting at age 40, with yearly mammograms for all women. Best to get right after your period or after the progesterone regimen of cycled hormone therapy.
- Cervical cancer screening, starting at age 21 or three years after becoming sexually active – whichever comes first.
- Colorectal screening, starting at age 50 or sooner if you have a family history.
- Periodic screening for cholesterol (at least every five years), hypertension (yearly blood pressure checks), diabetes (blood sugars every three years), osteoporosis (by menopause and every two to five years pending results), and thyroid disorders (TSH thyroid blood tests every five years or yearly if on thyroid hormone).
General Preventive Care – Lifestyle
- Limit alcohol. Stop smoking. Your body makes less estrogen when you smoke, and too much alcohol can damage bones, although a moderate amount of alcohol (three to five drinks per week) is not harmful.
- Wear a seat belt every time you’re in a vehicle.
- Eat a healthy, nutritious and colorful diet.
- Exercise daily – one hour is best.
- Create your living will and medical power of attorney.
Excerpted from The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Menopause by Holly L. Thacker, MD, by permission of Kaplan Publishing. Available wherever books are sold.
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