As women age gracefully, you are at a higher risk for developing many chronic diseases. From diabetes to heart disease, your risk increases with every year that passes. However, there are certain factors that you can change to improve your health risks. Factors such as lack of exercise, poor diet, and inadequate sleep patterns are things that you can change, which certainly could improve your health as you get older. However, there are certain health risks that, when not addressed early, could lead to chronic disease development or, in some cases, premature death. Let me explain…
As you age, your body goes through many different changes. Unlike men, women go through menopause, which is a sudden drop or loss of estrogen. This could lead to obesity, heart disease, some cancers, and other risks. However, there are some risk factors that you have complete control of, which could drastically improve your health–especially if you are over 40. The fact remains–there are hundreds of ways to improve your health and overall risk factors for chronic diseases and premature death. Here are the Top 5:
Top health risk #1: Being overweight
By far and away the most important of all the health risks is your weight. Being overweight carries with it many risks. Excess weight could lead to an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. However, more importantly, being overweight could lead to an increased risk for developing cancer–especially breast cancer. It has been shown that your fat cells release insulin which, according to some research studies, has been correlated with an increase in cancer cell growth.
Advice: A low carbohydrate or intermittent diet has been shown as an effective means at losing weight. This could lower your risk for many diseases but, most notably, the development of cancer.
Top health risk #2: Lack of sleep
It has been reported from the National Institute on Sleep that the average woman has a much harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. It has also been shown that women have an increased chance of suffering from insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and sleep disruptions associated with menopause. In addition, women may notice an increase in fatigue during the day, as well as other factors associated with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea increases in women over 50, which could lead to increased high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, obesity, and fatigue.
Advice: Try to maintain a normal sleeping pattern by going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. Also, try for at least 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night in order to prevent daytime fatigue, fogginess, risk for chronic diseases, and obesity.
Top health risk #3: Sitting too long
According to new research, sitting is the new smoking…it’s bad for your health! It has been shown that in the USA many women do not get the recommended amount of exercise per week (30 minutes, 5 times a week), which has been shown to curb your risk for many health issues as you age. Research shows that for getting up and moving for 30 minutes per day has been shown to reduce your risk for depression, osteoporosis, and even keeps your weight in check. Exercising at any point in your life has been shown to reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, and the onset of heart disease.
Advice: Get out of your chair and get moving! Exercise is great for burning extra calories, keeping your joints flexible and bones and muscles strong, as well as trimming your waistline.
Top health risk #4: Smoking
We have all known for some time that smoking is detrimental to your health. However, smoking is still the cause of preventable deaths worldwide. Smoking increases your risk for cancer, lung disease, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and others. It has been shown that women who have smoked for a lengthy period of time had a higher chance of developing cancer. In addition, it has also been shown that women who smoked into their older adult life had a higher chance of premature death than non-smoking women.
Advice: Quit now and reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease, and premature death.
Top health risk #5: Stress
Women are more prone to the stressors that life places on them. Women are more likely to take care of both children and aging parents, thus placing a greater workload on them and leading to less time with themselves. This often leads to emotional stress, which may lead to obesity, diabetes, dementia (later on in life), heart disease, and depression.
Advice: Taking much needed time for yourself while taking care of everyone around you will lead to an overall reduction in stress levels. Thus, it could potentially lead to less depression and anxiety that is often associated with stressful situations.
Bottom line: Improve your health as you age
Aging is associated with many different risk factors for women. Including a healthy diet, exercise program, stress management, and adequate sleep has been shown to improve your health and lead to a longer, more fulfilling life.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above-mentioned health risks, don’t wait to take action. Call my office at once at (302)691-9055 or visit my website at www.wildermanphysicaltherapy.com to schedule your FREE 30 minute consultation to see how Physical Therapy can help. Don’t delay–schedule now!