Health

What you need to know in every decade of your life

What you need to know in every decade of your life

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Women’s health concerns often differ from men’s health. (stock image)

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified health care professional before engaging in any physical activity or making any changes to your diet, medications, or lifestyle.

While women face many of the same health problems like men, the truth is that your gender can play a crucial role in health and aging. Women may be at higher risk of developing certain diseases. Some common health problems can also affect women differently than men.

Knowing the most common health concerns for women—and how those concerns change over the years—can empower you to make the best diet and lifestyle choices for your future. Here are some of the biggest women’s health concerns, broken down by decade.

What you need to know in every decade of your life

Mental health is one of the biggest health concerns for women in their 20s. (Photo via Getty Images)

The biggest health concerns for women in their 20s

Melanoma

Melanoma is a dangerous skin cancer that can occur at any stage of life and the risk increases with age. However, it is among the most common cancers in young adults, especially women. Sun damage in your 20s can increase your risk of developing melanoma later in life.

You can start protecting yourself early by avoiding excessive sun exposure or using sunscreen. Experts also recommend check your skin for unusual spots and see a dermatologist regularly for checkups.

Mental health

Suicide is a serious problem for young people in their 20s. In Canada, suicide is a cause 25 percent of all deaths between the ages of 15 and 24. While young men are more likely to die by suicide, women are two to three times you are more likely to try.

Young adults in their 20s are particularly vulnerable to mental health problems. More than 13 percent of Canadians aged 20 years report that their mental health is relatively poor.

Smoking and drinking

Although smoking rates have declined among young people, they remain leading cause of premature death in Canada. Between 2009 and 2016, deaths from alcohol abuse have increased by 10.5 percent annually among people aged 25 to 34.

Smoking and drinking habits formed in your 20s can affect you later in life. Quitting smoking before age 30 can reduce the risk of dying from lung cancer more than 90 percent. Heavy alcohol use in your 20s can also contribute to the development of problems such as crab and liver disease.

Women's fertility may decline after they reach their 30s.  (Photo via Getty Images)

It is possible for a woman’s fertility to decline after they turn 30. (Photo via Getty Images)

The biggest health concerns for women in their 30s

Problems related to pregnancy

In your 30s, your fertility may decline, which does more difficult to get pregnant. Women over the age of 35 are also at a higher risk of pregnancy-related health problems and miscarriage. A few of the most common pregnancy problems include:

Weight gain

As we age, our metabolism naturally slows down. Women in their 30s may experience weight gain or difficulty losing weight. Although not necessarily a sign of a health problem, excessive weight gain can contribute to problems such as: heart disease, diabetes and infertility problems.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Between 1998 and 2015, cases of sexually transmitted diseases increased in Canada from 39,372 to 116,499 annual cases. Experts claim that women are at higher risk of STIs such as chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea.

If left untreated, STIs can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause infertility and ectopic pregnancy. The women are less likely than men to have symptomsso it’s important to get tested for STIs regularly, especially if you’re having unprotected sex.

Menopause usually occurs when a woman enters her 40s.  (Photo via Getty Images)

Menopause usually occurs when a woman enters her 40s. (Photo via Getty Images)

The biggest health concerns for women in their 40s

osteoporosis

Women in their 40s may be at higher risk of osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones. regarding 80 percent of people living with osteoporosis are women.

Menopause

Menopause is something that almost all women go through, usually after the age of 40. Although menopause is not necessarily a health condition, how it changes your body is related to other health problems.

After menopause, the ovaries produce less estrogen. Lower estrogen levels can lead to a higher risk of other health problems. For example, a lack of estrogen can cause cholesterol to build up, leading to an increased risk of heart disease. It may also affect the risk of developing osteoporosis, lead poisoning, and urinary incontinence.

Breast and ovarian cancer

Women in their 40s are also at higher risk of certain cancers, including breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Screening measures for ovarian cancer include pelvic transvaginal ultrasound, blood tests, and computed tomography. For breast cancer, national Canadian guidelines recommend mammograms starting at age 50although women may choose to start earlier as a preventive measure. The risks of radiation exposure from mammograms is lowbut some women can experience psychological stress of false positives.

Although mental health issues can affect anyone at any age, women in their 50s should be wary of conditions such as anxiety and depression.  (Photo via Getty Images)

Although mental health issues can affect anyone at any age, women in their 50s should be wary of conditions such as anxiety and depression. (Photo via Getty Images)

The biggest health concerns for women in their 50s

Colorectal cancer

with 88 percent of colorectal cancer cases developing in people 50 and older, it is important to start screening for colon cancer in your 50s. This will help you catch it early and increase your chances of effective treatment.

Stress incontinence

almost half women over 50 experience stress incontinence, also known as urinary incontinence. However, women under 65 are less likely to talk to a doctor stress incontinence treatment options. This condition causes urine to leak during laughing, coughing, sneezing, or exercising.

Anxiety and depression

Mental health problems can affect all ages. For some people, anxiety and depression can appear later in life. In a 2020 study 9 per cent of Canadians at age 50 said their mental health was good or bad. This is an increase of almost 3 percent from 2015.

The risk of stroke doubles every decade after age 55.  (Photo via Getty Images)

The risk of stroke doubles every decade after age 55. (Photo via Getty Images)

The biggest health concerns for women in their 60s

High blood pressure

As we age, our blood vessels become less flexible, putting pressure on the arteries that supply blood throughout the body. This is why so many people develop high blood pressure as they age. Approximately 70 percent of women in their 60s and 70s have this condition.

Heart disease

As women age, plaque buildup in the arteries can lead to heart disease. Women are typical diagnosed with heart disease later in life than men. They are also less likely to have a heart attack, but it is still a serious health problem, especially for women in their 60s.

Women with heart failure also have 25% higher risk from developing atrial fibrillation, a condition characterized by a fast and irregular heartbeat, which can lead to blood clots in the heart.

Hit

Strokes can happen at any age, but data show that the risk of stroke doubles every 10 years after 55 years.

Women are disproportionately affected by strokes. Lower estrogen levels may play a role in cholesterol build-up, which can lead to stroke. In Canada, 45 percent more women die of stroke than men.

Almost everyone who reaches the age of 70 is affected by hearing loss.  (Photo via Getty Images)

Almost everyone who reaches the age of 70 is affected by hearing loss. (Photo via Getty Images)

The biggest health concerns for women over 70

Hearing loss

Hearing loss affects almost everyone who reaches the age of 70. In Canada, 94 percent of people by age 70 reported hearing loss, with another 31 percent experiencing tinnitus. Hearing loss often occurs as a gradual and natural part of the aging process, but it can also be caused by long-term medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Cataract

Gradual loss of visual acuity may be a normal part of aging, but it’s not the only vision problem that can occur in your 70s. Cataract or clouding of the lens of the eye affects almost half of all people in their 70s. In the next decade, that number will reach 68 percent. If left untreated, cataracts can obstruct vision and even lead to vision loss.

Memory problems

Several conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, can cause memory loss in older women. Memory loss and dementia may start graduallybut with time it can completely impair memory and thinking skills. Although there are some factors like age and heredity that you cannot control, experts suggest that a healthy, balanced lifestyle I can help.

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