Normal vs. Acceptable for Mid-Life Women
When asked about health care for the mid-life women, Judith K. Harvey, M.D, a physician at Family Medicine of Yakima, is very clear on a couple of points. "There is a distinction between what is normal and what is acceptable. People need to consider that," she says with conviction. "Secondly, we have great control over much of our health. It's a big responsibility, but it's ours."
Normal for Mid-life Women
For the mid-life woman, there are a number of health changes she may experience. The 40's to 50's mark the transition years, often referred to as "the chance of life", when a women goes from the childbearing years to the post-childbearing years of menopause. This transition is caused by a change in a women's hormone levels and may trigger these normal symptoms:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Irregular, heavy or light menses
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Night sweats
- Decreased sexual desire
- Vaginal dryness
- Increased bladder infections
- Urine leakage
The lowering of estrogen levels also brings to the forefront other health issues with which all women need to become familiar. During menopause, there is a neural thinning of bones that occurs. Lower estrogen levels also increase a women's risk of incidence of heart disease, and aging increases the incidence of breast cancer.
Proper nutrition, exercise, avoidance of smoking and alcohol can help combat diseases related to these changes, as well as help maintain overall good health.