Top Health Concerns to Address in Your 40s
Allison Bush | June 17, 2014
Blood glucose level
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 26 million people in the U.S. have type 2 diabetes and about 14 percent of people between the ages of 45 and 64 have been diagnosed or have the disease but don’t know it.
The risk for arthritis, back pain and other painful conditions like tendonitis increases with age. While you can’t do anything about how old you are, you can take steps to reduce your risk for health problems caused by wear and tear and overuse. Try to integrate low impact exercises, like yoga or swimming, into your daily routine.
Peak bone mass (maximum bone density and strength) gradually declines in your 40s and beyond, increasing your risk for osteoporosis—bone loss that can lead to fractures and other problems. After menopause, women are at even higher risk for this condition. A healthy diet and regular weight-bearing exercise, including strength training, can help prevent osteoporosis.
Sexual and reproductive health is an important part of overall health in your 40s. Common issues include sexual dysfunction (e.g., female sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction), sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and infections (STIs) including HIV/AIDS, and contraception.
Homocysteine levels and resting heart rate
These indicators of heart health can tend to slowly creep upward as you get older, increasing your risk for several serious medical conditions, including heart attack and stroke. Try to get these numbers checked at least once a year as part of your yearly physical.
Anxiety and depression
It’s important to take care of your mental health in your 40s. Changes in mood are a normal part of life, but extreme anxiety, loss of interest and energy, an inability to experience pleasure, withdrawal from usual activities and interactions, and apathy toward important matters is not. Talk to your health care provider about mental health screening.
Body mass index (BMI)
In addition to your BMI, which determines if your weight is within a healthy, overweight or obese range, your health care provider will also pay attention to your weight distribution. This measurement compares your waist size to your hip size. If you carry your weight in your belly, do what you can to slim down, as belly fat carries a strong risk for heart problems.