Doctor Oz gave a list of five questions all women over 40 years old must ask their doctor including what supplements and vitamins to take, why am I gaining weight, how healthy is my heart, do I still need birth control and is this menopause? Send this list to all of your female friends and family members, and print it out to take it with you to your next doctor’s appointment! Dr Oz said that when women turn 40, their chances increase significantly for getting cardiovascular disease (CVD), thyroid conditions and osteoporosis. Throidy problems are twice as likely and breast cancer risk increases dramatically after the age of 40. The American Heart Association says that 23% of women over 40 die within a year of having a heart attack, whereas 18% of men die within a year of having a heart attack. Doctor Oz was joined by Dr. Kimberly Manning and Dr. Donnica Moore, author of Women’s Health For Life, to answer 5 questions that women over 40 must ask their doctor!
Five Questions Women Over 40 Must Ask Their Doctor
1. Is It Menopause?
Menopause is based on a clinical diagnosis in which you have not had a period for 12 months in a row, with no other reasons like being pregnant or breast feeding a baby. Most women get menopause around 51 years of age, but symptoms of menopause come sooner in peri-menopause, where women have some irregular periods and menopausal symptoms for a 2-10 year period of time. Common symptoms of menopause and per-menopause are irregular periods, hot flashes, missed periods, night sweats, forgetfulness, mood swings and sleep disturbances.
2. Do I Still Need Birth Control?
Dr Oz said that according to a recent study, a woman over 40 years old is just as likely to get pregnant as a 16 year old, if you do not use birth control. If you have not gone through menopause, you need to take birth control, even if you had infertility issues in the past. As long as you do not smoke or have other risk factors, you should talk to your doctor about taking birth control pills, which also treat peri-menopausal symptoms like PMS and fibroids.
3. How Healthy is My Heart?
Heart disease is the number one killer of women in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. If you have a family history of heart disease or other risk factors like minimal exercise, smoking or an unhealthy diet, then you are at a high risk for having heart related problems. Dr. Oz said that high blood pressure is the number one cause of heart attacks. You can often check your blood pressure at pharmacies or grocery stores, and sometimes they can even check your cholesterol and sugar levels. And if you smoke, please try to quit smoking and see your doctor. If you get medication to help you quit smoking, your success rate is 50% instead of 5% if you try to quit smoking on your own.
4. Why Am I Gaining Weight?
Once women turn 40, they generally need to eat less and exercise more in order to stay the same weight, because the female metabolism slows down, muscle mass decreases and estrogen levels go down as well. However, weight gain could also be a sign of hypothyroidism, which is an under-active thyroid. If you have dry skin, tend to always feel cold and fatigued, these are also signs that you might have hypothyroidism. Normally, the pituitary and hypothalamus send signals to your thyroid to release hormones. However, if you have hypothyroidism, the brain does not get feedback from the thyroid so it keeps trying to activate it. The result is that your thyroid gets larger, which is called goiter. Another sign of thyroid problems is if the sides of your neck feel larger than normal.
5. What Supplements Should I Take?
Women over 40 years old often need to change the supplements and vitamins that they take. Often, women over 40 should take vitamin D, which helps your body to absorb calcium and prevent osteoporosis which causes bone loss. If you have dark skin, use high SPF sunscreen or live in the North, then you are more likely to be low in vitamin D. You need 15-20 minutes of exposure to the sun each day to get the amount of vitamin D you need daily. Your doctor can test if you are low in vitamin D and you can also get a bone mineral density scan (especially if you are 65 years old or older). Exercise and resistance training, plus quitting smoking, can all help with your vitamin D and bone health. Here are some of the supplements and vitamins that Dr Oz recommends women over 40 take: Vitamin D, Calcium Magnesium, Women’s Multi-Vitamin and Omega 3.