Skip links

Health concerns for women through the decades

August is women’s month – a time to pay tribute to the strong females in our lives. Women are the world’s nurturers. Often, too busy taking care of others to worry about their own health concerns. But personal well-being should always be at the top of your list. It’s never too soon to start thinking about your health. We all want to lead a full and happy life, from our youthful years well into old age. With women’s month in full swing, let’s look at how you can keep yourself healthy through the decades.

Do you know what health concerns to look out for?

As we navigate the uncertainties of life, discovering who we are and chasing our dreams, it’s possible for health and wellness to slip to the bottom of the list. No one wants to think about the possibility of falling ill. But, as we grow through life, there are health concerns we shouldn’t ignore.

Shape your future health in your 20s

You’re young, care-free, and living your best life. A woman’s twenties are a time of discovery. They are for learning who you are, finding a career, and falling in love. Exciting! You have your whole life ahead of you. But ladies, let’s be honest, health concerns are far from your mind at this stage. No one worries about getting sick when they are young. While you may not have any problems with your health, you should still take precaution. The choices you make in your twenties can have an impact later down the line. Now is the time to start practising a healthy lifestyle. Exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Remember, skin damage begins when we’re young. Get into the habit of daily skincare from an early age and don’t forget the sunscreen.

What to watch out for

Human papillomavirus

Sexually transmitted diseases are a higher risk for women in their twenties. At this age, women tend to be more sexually active and may have multiple partners. The human papillomavirus is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. It’s important that young women begin adding pap smears to their annual check-ups.

Look for balance in your 30s

We all have a mini panic-attack when we turn thirty. It’s a significant milestone. For many, its seen as a time to be responsible and start acting like an adult. But reaching our thirties is not nearly as bad as it seems when we’re still a laid-back twenty-something. It’s all about finding a balance between work and social life. At this stage, women are focusing on their careers and starting to think seriously about children. It’s a juggling act during this thrilling decade, and often health concerns take a back seat. As with your twenties, you should focus on preventative measures and aim for a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Women in their thirties need to be aware of their bodies. If you experience any physical or mental changes, it’s best to consult your doctor.

What to watch out for

Diabetes

In our thirties, it becomes harder to maintain a healthy weight. Pre-diabetes and diabetes are a risk for women who battle with their weight. A glucose test is wise, especially if your family has a history of diabetes, or you have any of the risk factors (including being overweight). Diabetes can be a risk through all ages of life, minimise your risk by maintaining a healthy weight and regular glucose checks.

Feel fabulous in your 40s

Women in their forties have their routine all figured out. You’ve conquered the teething stages of juggling work, kids, family, and social obligations. Yet, this can be a critical time in a woman’s life. Your forties are when your body begins to change. Your metabolism starts to decline during this decade, making weight gain a growing concern. Now, more than ever, you should prioritise healthy eating and regular exercise. Your body is also beginning its transition towards menopause, leading to hormonal changes. As a result, depression can be a health concern during this phase of your life. Make mental and physical wellness a priority.

What to watch out for

Breast cancer

From the age of forty, the risk of developing breast cancer increases in women. Be aware of any physical changes in your breasts and visit your doctor if you have any concerns. Annual mammograms are encouraged for women forty and over. Doctors may suggest biannual screenings for women with a family history of breast cancer.

Stay fighting fit in your 50s

Fifty is a time for happiness. Many women feel peace and contentment during this time of their life. You are mature and settled in your role, whether it’s CEO, world’s best mom or both. The healthy foundations you’ve laid should be paying off, but the dreaded ‘M’ word is on its way. Menopause. Yes, your body and lifestyle are changing over this decade. Symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings are a common occurrence during this time. Another concern as your body produces less oestrogen is bone density. Women above the age of fifty will begin to see a decrease in bone density after menopause.

What to watch out for

Heart disease

Heart health should be a concern through all stages of life. From early on you should be paying attention to your cholesterol and blood pressure. With menopause and dropping oestrogen levels, the risk of heart disease increases. It’s in your fifties that you are most likely to start seeing signs or symptoms. Now more than ever, women need to be aware of their heart-health numbers and go for periodic wellness screenings. You can minimise the risks by maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle.

Colon cancer

Cancer is a growing concern as one gets older. Along with breast cancer, the risk of colon cancer increases from the age of fifty. Thankfully, it can be highly treatable if caught in the early stages. A colonoscopy is the best procedure for checking your bowels. If the results are normal, you can wait ten years before the next one.

Health concerns for 60s and above

You know what they say – life begins at sixty. The children are all grown up and living their own lives. It’s time to retire, see the world, pursue long forgotten hobbies. In fact, there’s no reason age should prevent you from achieving your dreams. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and regular health checks should see you through to the twilight years. Don’t forget to keep mental and physical fitness at the top of your mind. At this age, it’s also wise to check your eyesight and hearing at regular intervals.

What to watch out for

Osteoporosis

Fragile bones are a growing health concern for women over the age of sixty. Fractures can take a long time to heal when we are older. All women by the age of sixty-five should have a bone density test. You can also protect your bones by ensuring you receive enough calcium and exercising regularly. No matter how old we are, maintaining a healthy lifestyle should be our top priority.