As of 2020, life expectancy for women in the United States is 80.5 years, and you may live much longer than that. Taking care of your health can help you to celebrate more birthdays and increase the quality of your life.
You probably know that women tend to live longer than men. However, you may be surprised to learn that women are at higher risk for many conditions that are common in old age. That includes cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke.
Lifestyle changes and medical care can help prevent and treat many of these issues. Discover health secrets that women over 50 need to know.
Dealing with Menopause
The average age of menopause is 51. This natural decline in reproductive hormones affects your body in many ways. Symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats can last for several years or more, but usually decrease in frequency and intensity over time.
These strategies can help you to deal with the symptoms of menopause:
- Fight weight gain. Many women notice their body weight increasing after menopause. To make matters worse, the extra pounds tend to accumulate around your waistline, where they increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. It becomes even more important to choose nutrient dense foods and avoid empty calories.
- Manage hot flashes. Preventing obesity will lower your risk for hot flashes too. Meanwhile, you may find quick relief by dressing in layers and sipping cold drinks. If you need more help, talk with your doctor about whether hormone replacement therapy is appropriate for you.
- Adjust your diet. The way you eat can reduce some of the health risks and discomfort associated with menopause. Choose foods rich in calcium and vitamin D to slow down bone loss. Skip spicy dishes and caffeine if they trigger hot flashes.
Other Health Secrets
Menopause is just one of the changes you’re likely to experience as you grow older, but there are also some big advantages. Multiple studies confirm that stress drops and happiness peaks in old age.
Try these techniques to deal with other changes as you age:
- Drink in moderation. Government surveys show that alcohol use has increased in women over 60 during the past two decades. Keep in mind that your sensitivity to alcohol increases as you age. Talk with your doctor or call a hotline if you’re having trouble managing your drinking.
- Pamper your eyes. Cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness. Regular eye exams can enable early detection and treatment for a wide range of issues that often develop gradually after 40. It also helps to quit smoking, wear sunglasses, and take breaks from screen time.
- Check your hearing. About one in three adults experiences some hearing loss by the age of 65. That damage usually accumulates over the years, so start protecting your ears as soon as possible. That includes minimizing your exposure to loud noises and wearing safety gear when necessary.
- Work out. Physical exercise can help you manage your weight, increase muscle mass, strengthen your bones, and condition your heart. Design a balanced program of resistance training, aerobics, and stretching.
- Continue learning. Spend time on educational activities and hobbies that stimulate your brain. Many state universities and colleges grant tuition waivers to eligible residents who are 60 or older.
- Stay connected. Your mental and physical health are closely related, so being isolated can cause physical symptoms, like high blood pressure and weakened immunity. Spend time with family and friends. Join a club or visit your neighborhood senior center.
While genetics play a role in how you age, there are many factors that you can control. Adopt healthy habits that can help you to live longer and continue enjoying the activities you love.