Top Health Tips for Women in Their 50’s

As you reach your 40’s and 50’s, you may find that the lifestyle you were living when you were younger does not suit you anymore. For women, this fact is especially true; their bodies undergo more biological changes. As women get to their 50’s, they’ll have to make up for changes in their body including hormonal, muscular, and cardiovascular. Thus, it’s particularly important to pay closer attention to women’s health once they reach their 50’s.

Unfortunately, weight gain is more common in aging women. This is due to the fact that with age comes a decrease in muscle mass, an accumulation of extra fat, and a drop in the resting metabolic rate. Hormonal changes in women can also cause a variety of symptoms. Additionally, this can up the overall risk for stroke and heart diseases for women. And older women tend to have a harder time in absorbing certain nutrients because of a decrease in stomach acid. Clearly, older women’s diets should look significantly different from their diet when they were in their 20’s. They should look into a diet that helps maintain a healthy weight, eat heart-friendly foods, and most of all help them stay strong.

The following tips can help women lead fabulous and healthy lives well into their 50’s.

Don’t Eat Too Much Salty Foods

The older we get, the higher the chances of developing high blood pressure (hypertension). This is because our blood vessels become less flexible as we age. Hypertension puts us at risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney ailments, and death.

One of the leading causes of hypertension is consuming too much salt. About 70 percent of salt in the diet of Americans originate from processed food products. You should significantly lessen our consumption of processed foods. These foods include canned soups, chips, microwavable and frozen dinners, etc. Ideally, we should forego these types of foods altogether. However, if it’s not doable, we should aim for about 1,500 mg (or about ½ teaspoon) of sodium per day. Rather than salt, start using herbs and spices to flavor your meals and dishes you cook. Additionally, many herbs are high in antioxidants and offer a variety of health benefits; rosemary, oregano, and thyme are some of them.

Giving up on processed foods will also mean that you are introducing more whole and healthier foods in your diet. These include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods will help up your fiber intake. As you know, fiber helps in staying full longer; this will help you not overeat throughout the day and not contribute to weight gain.

Calcium and Vitamin D

When women reach their 40’s, they may experience significant hormone and gastric changes. This results in a decrease in calcium and D levels absorption. Moreover, studies show that women in their postmenopausal stage have higher osteoporosis and bone fractures risk because of lower estrogen levels. To make matters worse, after women reach their 50’s, the bones will start deteriorating rather than building, which will negatively impact women’s health.

Ideally, women should consume sufficient calcium even before they turn 30. The good thing is it’s never too late to introduce more calcium-rich foods in your diet. Good (and delicious) sources of calcium include spinach, kale, broccoli, yogurt, sardines, and milk. In addition, women should remember to have their vitamin D levels checked. If needed, they should ask their doctor for additional vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D is required for better calcium absorption.

Try a Mediterranean Diet

When our blood vessels get less flexible, our risk of getting heart disease is increased. Women in their menopausal stage are especially vulnerable to this. Fortunately, there is a (delicious) diet to help lessen this risk.

When studies were conducted to look at the populations in the world, it was determined that people who more than 100 years old have one thing in common: consuming a Mediterranean diet. The traditional type of Mediterranean diet is composed of plenty of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, moderate wine intake, and olive oil. The European Journal of Cancer Prevention even found out that this type of diet was linked to lower risks of heart disease and cancer. The American Journal of Clinical Research further proved this study. They also endorsed the diet’s capabilities to protect against chronic diseases.

Why Does My Jaw Hurt?

Causing pain and discomfort to 1 in 4 Americans, jaw pain is often referred to as the quiet offender. There is a multitude of issues that can lead to jaw pain; headaches, grinding your teeth at night, frequent jaw clenching, are just to name a few. A history of trauma could be indicative of this type of pain. In whiplash cases, where the head has overextended because of a car accident or bad fall, the jaw could get impacted which will then result in pain.

Jaw Pain

When you are suffering from pain in your jaw, the diagnosis may most likely attribute it to Temporomdandibular Disorder (TMD). While multiple jaw issues cause this condition, it’sn not always the cause of pain in the jaw. As a matter of fact, jaw pain can be an indication of a lot of other serious health issues. If you are experiencing pain in the jaw for more than a day or if the pain is debilitating, you should get a health checkup right away.

The most common medical issues associated with jaw pain include:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Infections
  • Bad bite
  • Overuse of the jaw
  • Heart conditions
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Physical injuries

Teeth Grinding

When you grind your teeth in your sleep, it can put an extreme amount of pressure on the jaws. Since teeth grinding usually occurs when you’re asleep, other muscle groups around the jaw area can also be impacted by the grinding. Consult with your dentist, and see what the best sleeping device is to stop teeth grinding.
Your bite pattern, or the way your teeth are aligned, may lead to jaw pain if they are not aligned properly. The misalignment can make for uneven wear which contributes to pains in your jaw. In many cases, a misaligned bite pattern can be solved with braces or other similar dental devices that can reshape the bite.

Many people kid about overusing the jaw. However, it can be quite a serious health issue. Chewing gum for long periods of time can damage the jaw and lead to constant, unnerving pain. The chewing motion makes the jaw overworked. By simply giving your jaw a rest and refraining from chewing gum is the straightforward solution to this issue.

Infections

The pressure in your sinus cavity due to the sinuses being blocked can lead to pain and discomfort in the jaw area. Additionally, sinus infections often lead to ear infections if they don’t get checked and treated right away.

Ear Infection

Ear infections, as mentioned above, is another indicator of jaw pain. Due to the location of the ears in the body, the swelling because of the infection can quickly travel to the jaw area and make it painful. The tubes found behind the jaw can also get sore when they are infected, signaling pain in the jaw area, and not necessarily the jaw hurting.

An abscessed or infected tooth is also a massive contributor to pain in the jaw. If you have an infected tooth or gum, the pain and infections can quickly travel down the jaw area. This fact is particularly true for abscessed teeth, no matter where they are in the jaw.
If you think that your jaw pain is associated with any type of infection, then you should get immediate medical attention. Infections shouldn’t be left untreated as they can lead to more severe health risks.

Heart Conditions

While it may be a rare manifestation, constant or dull pain in the lower left part of the jaw may be the first signs of heart trouble. Similar to chest pains exhibiting from the left side of the chest and the left arm, heart pains also manifest in the lower left jaw, particularly in women. If you are suffering from any type of pain on the left side of your lower jaw, especially if you have a history of heart ailments, then seek immediate care.

Osteoarthritis

The jaw is a joint; thus, it can get certain joint diseases. When you hear ‘osteoarthritis,’ you often associate it with people experiencing discomfort and pain in their hips, knees, shoulders, or elbows. However, osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, and that’s including the jaw. Your doctor would have to check for other symptoms to confirm this type of diagnosis. If it is, then there is a number of joint treatments that your doctor can recommend you.

7 Breast Cancer Myths: Debunked

There is a vast amount of information about breast cancer. That makes a fantastic opportunity to learn about treatment, prevention, and recurrence. However, with a broad range of news comes oversimplifications of facts and confusing misinformation. In today’s post, we’ll look at the common breast cancer myths. From what you need to know about a mammogram to self-screening to what your diet should be.

Myth #1: Breast cancer is hereditary.

It’s true that most women’s breast cancer risk factor doubles when a first-degree relative acquires the disease. However, there is more to this statistic. In a vast majority of cases, this type of cancer is not brought about by a mutation or an inherited gene defect. Only 10 percent of breast cancer is linked to a gene that can be identified, the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.

Myth #2: A mammogram is no longer necessary.

It is a widely agreed upon fact among medical professionals that mammograms can help save lives; it can reduce mortality by 15 to 20 percent. Early detection of any condition can lead to a less harmful and invasive treatment procedure, as well as better survival. There is still hope that we can identify low-risk women who may not require mammograms as early as needed. Now, 70 percent of breast cancer patients don’t have breast cancer in their family history. Still, experts highly recommend women start their annual mammogram screening once they turn 40.

Myth #3: Self-screening is a thing of the past.

The value of breast self-exams has always been questioned. Still, the best way to see if there are any changes in your body is to check it regularly, preferably the week after your menstrual cycle. Check for any lumps that may feel stiff. Self-awareness also entails knowing your family and genetic history and the behaviors that will reduce your risk of breast cancer. Many health guidelines maintain that women should do self-exams; however, they should not replace the appropriate screenings and exams from your doctor.

Myth #4: MRI is better than a mammogram.

While a breast MRI is much more sensible for the detection of the early stages of breast cancer, it’s not for everyone. Also, it doesn’t replace a mammogram entirely. The latter is the only imaging innovation that detects microcalficiations, which are believed to be the earliest symptom of breast cancer. Mammograms are also better at picking up architectural distortion of the breast, or subtle and delicate changes in the breast shape.

The American Cancer Society did endorse screening breast MRI, especially for high-risk women, even though it’s not covered by most insurance providers and has an increased false-positive rate. If you believe that your family history puts you at higher risk for cancer, discuss these concerns with your doctor to see if you need an MRI.

Myth #5: You can’t eat soy or sugar if you have breast cancer.

There is no evidence or data whatsoever that the consumption of soy or sugar has any effect on breast cancer. They neither cause nor cure this condition. However, if you don’t want to take off soy and sugar from your diet, there are some better choices you can make. Get your sugar intake from fruits, which has natural cancer-fighting nutrients, rather than processed sugary foods. You can also replace highly processed or concentrated forms of soy for the natural, healthier kinds such as soy milk, tofu, and edamame.

Myth #6: A mastectomy is the best cure for breast cancer.

Keep in mind that early detection is still the best way to treat breast cancer; the survival rate for early breast cancer detection is more than 95 percent. However, women should know that there are other things you can do to reduce your risk of breast cancer.

For instance, post-menopausal obesity and alcohol intake are risk factors that not a lot of people know about. Also, even though studies about exercises and physical activities as they relate to reducing breast cancer are mixed, there’s no denying that exercise reduces body fat, which can, in turn, lessen your risk. Expert recommendations include keeping a normal, healthy weight and not exceeding alcohol consumption to more than six to seven drinks per week.

Myth #7: A lump means breast cancer.

If a lump is detected during your self-screening, don’t panic. Many lumps are caused by scar tissue or cysts. Other breast cancer symptoms include thickening of the skin, swelling, and redness. As always, talk to your doctor about any lumps you discover or any other concerns you have.