Let me tell you, forty-five sure isn’t forty, but the beauty of it is that wisdom always beats superficial thoughts. As we get older, we think more clearly and avoid “sweating the small stuff”. So rather than pursue the perfect body, we may shift that focus to staying or getting healthier. If you are over forty years old and feeling as though you are facing your mortality, you are not alone. Taking a look at your family history for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer is a good place to start in maintaining good health as you age.
In addition to getting comfortable with your new body shape (same wonderful body, but sorta drooped), it is also a good time to keep up with your overall health and disease risk. I know that “disease risk” sounds morbid, but it is better to know, than to not know, so take a good look at any risk factors that you may have. Consider this:
o Are you overweight?
o Do you know what your blood pressure is lately?
o Do you have high blood cholesterol, specifically a high LDL?
o Do you have high blood sugar or triglycerides?
o Do you exercise? Do you still have muscle tone?
o Do you smoke? Should you look for a program to help you quit? Yes!!
o Women- Do you have an annual screening for breast and cervical cancers?
o Men- have you had your annual prostate exam yet?
o Are you aware of your own family history for disease (diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer)
All of the above will help you outline your strengths and weaknesses and give you a starting point for setting goals for better health. We can’t change our genetic make-up but we can change our diets, exercise habits, how often we go to the doctor, and whether or not we smoke.
As a younger person in our twenties or thirties, going to the doctor may not have been an annual thing, but it is very important to get regular check-ups in your forties and fifties. Things can change quickly at this point. Normal blood pressure, may not creep up, it may just bolt up. Seeing your doctor annually enables you to have your blood pressure and weight checked; two factors important to heart health that are very treatable. If you have a family history of diabetes, your doctor should know, and may even routinely screen for this, but speak up. Your doctor can only treat you if he or she knows more about you. Talk to your physician about what is ailing you, what doesn’t feel right, or any pertinent family history (diabetes, heart disease, and cancer primarily; and any other diseases or disorders that you know of).
Be smart and schedule your annual visit with your physician. Take charge of your own health by making well-balanced food choices, moving your body and staying strong.