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There are some great birthday gifts to buy a loved one when they hit forty to mark the occasion. However, it is also an age that is marked as when we need to begin caring for our health more and have regular check-ups. Common concerns amongst women in their forties include cancer, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

Keep the Heart in Top Health with Regular Exercise

Cardiovascular disease is a main concern amongst women in their forties, but regular exercise can lower the risk of developing heart problems. If you are not used to regular exercise, visit your doctor for a health check and they will determine whether you are in a good state of health or if you need to lose weight first. You may be at a higher risk of heart disease if this issue runs in the family. Brisk walking is suitable for all ages and reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis.

Check the Breasts Regularly

Women over forty must regularly self-examine their breasts. The breasts can feel lumpy just before the menstrual cycle so check them several days after your cycle. In addition, visit your doctor to request a mammogram. To reduce your risk of breast cancer, try to eat a healthy diet and take up regular exercise.

Regular Walking Prevents Brittle Bone Disease

Brittle bone disease or osteoporosis is a major health concern for women of all ages. Weight bearing exercises includes walking, jogging, aerobics, and skipping. An early sign of osteoporosis in women can be a pattern of irregular periods, and some races are more at risk than other skin colours.  Calcium rich foods include dairy products, broccoli and fish.

Women Are Still Fertile

Many women forget that they are still fertile after the age of forty, but 25 percent of women stop using any form of birth control. There is a wide range of options for women, including an IUD, pill, patch, injection or diaphragm.

What if Early Menopause Strikes

If the early menopause hits then you may experience heart palpitations, irritability, vaginal dryness, hot flushes, night sweats, headaches, mood changes and memory lapses. Perimenopause can cause a change in your menstrual periods for a period of five years before the menopause hits. Unless you have experienced an entire 12 months where you have had no periods then you should still use contraception until a doctor has confirmed this.

High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Many women are unaware they have high blood pressure, so if you are forty or older it is wise to have your blood pressure levels checked every two years, unless your pressures have been previously high. Blood pressure monitors can be bought in a pharmacy. If you notice that your systolic (upper) number is over 130 and diastolic (lower) number over 85, you need to visit your doctor for advice. Women with heart disease or diabetes must have their blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked regularly.

Avoid Middle Age Spread

The metabolism slows down as we age, which the reason why some women experience weight gain in the abdominal and hip regions. Women over forty should lower their calorie intake to approximately 1800, or take up regular exercise. Stick to a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and nuts, but lower your intake of saturated fat and processed foods. However, it is important to remember that there are different types of fats. Mono-unsaturated fats are found in olive oil, seeds, nuts and saturated fats are found in cakes and pastries. However, coconut oil is a medium chain saturated fat, which can be beneficial to keeping your heart healthy, as it is broken down by the liver and used as immediate energy, rather than stored as fat.

About the Author:

Pipa Rose is a writer who believes that the biggest gift you can ever receive when you turn forty is to feel healthy in yourself. She recommends buying a membership to exercise classes, a gym or a spa as they are all great birthday gifts to help forty-year-olds feel great about their body.

Recommended: Use a voucher code MAS5385 to save an extra 5% when shopping for supplements on iHerb.

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