Last year was a tough time for my health. Due to stress and depression, I gained 30 pounds and had to undergo multiple tests and screenings. I was experiencing symptoms like lightheadedness, heart palpitations, and back pain. It started with a check for kidney stones and ended up with an MRI, leaving me scared and uncertain about my health.
As I approach my 40s, I've become more mindful of my health and my family history of hormonal imbalances, blood sugar issues, and hypotension. I'm taking steps to improve my health through mindful eating, exercise, and holistic methods. Today, I want share what you should be look for in your health to prevent chronic illness and maintaining a healthy life in your 40s.
Navigating Health Challenges in Your 40s as a Black Woman
As black women enter their 40s, they often face a unique set of health challenges. Rates of chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes are higher among African Americans than other groups. The rate of new cases of breast cancer is higher among black women compared to other racial or ethnic backgrounds. Furthermore, one in five black women over the age of 40 are obese, with many struggling with the related health issues that come along with hormonal issues.
On top of these health concerns, black women also face personal struggles as they navigate their forties. Balancing work, family, and mental health, this can be overwhelming on its own without taking into consideration lack of access to affordable healthcare and resources in certain communities. These socioeconomic factors can lead to poorer overall outcomes when it comes to health matters.
In order to effectively manage their health at this stage in life, there are several important steps that should be taken when it comes to general wellness and preventive care:
Regular checkups with a primary care physician and specialty appointments if needed;
Cancer screenings like mammograms or colonoscopies;
Management of any chronic conditions including hypertension or diabetes;
Discussion about various other medical tests based on individual needs such as blood pressure or cholesterol screenings.
It’s essential for African American women to take control over their health by being proactive about what their bodies need during this period in life. Implementing strategies such as regular checkups and preventive tests will help ensure that any necessary treatments are started early on before it’s too late.
It’s also important not just to focus on specific organs or systems but also think holistically about all the bodily functions that could factor into overall well being—including thyroid, liver, kidney and hormone tests.
Proactive Health Measures for Black Women in Their 40s: Regular Check-ups, Cancer Screenings, and Essential Medical Tests
Forty may be the new fabulous, but taking proactive steps to ensure your wellbeing shouldn't end there! Black women make sure to schedule regular check-ups with their primary care physician and cancer screenings as well. Plus, don’t forget about checking with yourself on your mental health.
In addition to these preventative measures, there are also several medical tests that black women should discuss with their doctors. These include:
Breast cancer screenings, including mammograms and clinical breast exams
Colon cancer screenings, such as colonoscopies or fecal occult blood tests
Blood pressure and cholesterol screenings
Diabetes screenings, including A1C and glucose tests
Bone density screenings to check for osteoporosis
Thyroid function tests such as TSH, T3 and T4
Liver function tests such as ALT, AST, ALP and bilirubin
Kidney function tests such as creatinine, BUN
Hormone tests such as FSH, LH, Estrogen and Progesterone
Addressing potential risks ahead can allow black women in their 40s to have greater control over their long term health. Keeping up with routine checkups and preventive screenings can help African American females retain good health while avoiding serious illnesses down the line. Working closely with a healthcare provider is essential for understanding one’s individual needs and how best to meet them throughout this stage in life.
Empowering African American women to be healthier in their 40s requires more than just exercising and eating right; it is a lifestyle. Taking small, meaningful steps such as switching to whole grain products or adding fruits and vegetables to meals can help improve one’s overall diet. Forming healthy habits such as getting adequate sleep and taking vitamin supplements can provide better life balance and lead to increased quality of life.
In my opinion: Never feel that you are a burden when it comes to your health. This is your body and the only one you have. Ask for those test, talk it over with your doctor and if he or she is not giving the care you need go over their heads. Do you research and let them know you are aware your body so you can get the care you deserves.
Artist: Chidiebere Ibe no Name