The female body gradually changes with age. We lose muscle mass, gain weight easily and can no longer live with the habits we had when we were in our 20s or 30s. We at Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care recommend incorporating some new habits into your routine after you reach age 50. Here are four ways you can maintain your health, all the way from your brain and heart to your colon health.
Get a Colonoscopy
Turning 50 has often been synonymous with checking the health of your colon. No need to fear! At NVSCC, Dr. Wishnev and Dr. Ren Yu Zhang specialize in colon and rectal health. We check for anal fissures, polyps associated with colon cancer and other colon and rectal conditions. If you’re already experiencing discomfort around your rectum, have recurring abdominal pain, fecal incontinence or have trouble passing waste, our experts can help.
Start Supplementing B12, Calcium and Vitamin D
B12 helps create DNA and enables healthy nerves and blood cells in your body. While the nutrient is found in meat and fish, doctors recommend taking in in pill or shot form. That’s because as we age, stomach acid production lessens, which doesn’t allow your body to digest and absorb nutrients like B12 naturally occurring in food. Even if you’re not yet 50, ask your doctor about starting a supplement now before you run the risk of becoming B12 deficient.
Hormones take a sharp turn around ages 40 to 50, which makes it more difficult for the female body to absorb calcium and vitamin D. Incorporate foods like kale, oranges, spinach, broccoli, milk and yogurt to up your calcium consumption. Likewise, vitamin D is necessary to absorb calcium, so ask your doctor for ways to boost your D levels, too.
Lower Your Sodium Intake and Eat Healthier
Did you know that as we age our blood vessels become less elastic? This means we’re more likely to have hypertension or high blood pressure. In turn, we are more at risk for stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, and even death. But you can do things to prevent these risks like managing your salt intake and eating a Mediterranean diet.
Processed foods like chips, canned soups, frozen dinners, and other snacks hold about 72 percent of the salt you consume every day. So, cutting out processed foods and starting the Mediterranean diet will keep your sodium within the 1500mg or less range (about half a teaspoon). Sound impossible? Try substituting fresh herbs and other low sodium spices instead of salt when preparing meals.
The Mediterranean diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil) has been associated with a longer lifespan and better brain health. Healthy fats from fish, nuts, and oils make for a healthy heart, too. Multiple studies have revealed the numerous benefits to the diet, which even includes dark chocolate and moderate wine consumption.
Stop Taking Iron
If you already take a multivitamin that includes iron, you probably don’t need it. After menopause ceases menstrual bleeding, women only need about 8 mg of iron a day. Stay in the recommended range because iron toxicity causes liver and heart damage if the body doesn’t have a way to get rid of it (like it did when you had your period). Ask your doctor how to make this change in your vitamin routine.
Collectively, implementing these healthy habits will help your heart, your waistline, and overall health as you age into the next phase of your life. Another important health concern to be aware of? After you hit age 50, it’s time for a colonoscopy.
At Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care, we focus on gynecological health, as well as colon and rectal health. During this time in your life, make an appointment for your colon’s health. And if you suffer from intestinal, colonic or rectal conditions, see how our minimally invasive treatments can help.