As women, our bodies and minds naturally change as we age. But with the demands of life, family and work, often our own health can take a backseat to our busy lives.
Healthy at every age
The biggest risks to our health in our 20s will naturally be different to our 50s or 60s which means we’ll need to schedule different health checks as preventative measures. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- In our 20s regular cervical screens are important. The good news is that thanks to new research, once we get the all-clear these screens are now only required every five years.
- As we move into our 30s our risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) begins to increase. CVD is the biggest killer of women and signs and symptoms might not always be obvious so seeing your GP for biannual check-ups, including cholesterol and blood pressure tests, is important.
- Once we reach our 40s, we should also start having regular checks for Type 2 Diabetes. Living a healthy lifestyle with a nutritious diet and regular exercise will help minimise the risk.
- As we move into our 50s and 60s, your doctor may suggest regular mammograms to screen for breast cancer and recommend bowel cancer screening and bone density tests to monitor and detect early changes.
Let’s talk about boobies
An alarming 53 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every single day. While there are some risk factors that you can’t change, there are others that you can manage. According to the Breast Cancer Network Australia, risk factors for developing breast cancer include:
- Being female,
- Increasing age,
- A family history of breast cancer,
- Being overweight or obese,
- Alcohol and smoking and
- Having dense breasts.
Being familiar with the look and feel of your breasts will make it easier to notice changes if they occur. The Jean Hailes organisation recommends checking your breasts once a month and have put together a handy table to help you, you can read it here.
Where does private health insurance come in?
Private hospital cover can provide benefits for several services that are important for women. From cardiac services to gynaecology and pregnancy and birth related services, a comprehensive cover can mean that should you require treatment, the choice of when and where is up to you.
Phoenix Health offer support programs for management of chronic conditions as well as the Hatchling Program to provide support from the time you learn of your pregnancy to the first eight weeks of your baby’s life.
Make yourself a priority
If you’ve noticed changes in your body or have any concerns regarding any aspect of your health, make an appointment with your health care practitioner. If you have trouble staying accountable, try recruiting the help of your partner, a friend or family member to help you prioritise your health. While some changes are natural and completely normal, early detection of more serious issues can result in better outcomes.
Information sourced from Jean Hailes, Body and Soul, Breast Cancer Network Australia and Better Health Victoria.