In your 40s
40 is the new 30, right? Life is for living, and you want to enjoy it to a ripe old age. Keep on top of all the checks you have been getting in your 20s and 30s (see above), plus:
While women aren’t actively recruited for a mammogram until they hit 50, there is some evidence for bi-annual mammograms in women from the age of 40, says Dr Latreille. Just call your local breastcreen location, or speak to your GP for more information.
“If you have a strong family history of diabetes, your 40s is when you need to see your doctor about your individual level of risk,” says Dr Latreielle. Risk factors include being older, overweight, of an Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Island, Indian subcontinent or Chinese background or a woman who has given birth to a child weighing more than 4.5 kilograms.
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye diseases in which the optic nerve at the back of the eye is slowly destroyed. It’s slow to progress and destroys vision gradually, so it’s hard to spot and treat without early detection. You need to have your eyes checked for glaucoma by the time you turn 40. Visit your local optometrist for more information.
Things may not be running quite as they used to, but you’re still spry! Keep your body feeling as young as your mind with these essential health checks for older women.
At age 50 the government will send you a kit to test for colon cancer. This is an essential test that detects small traces of blood in the stool and needs to be completed every two years, says Dr Latreille.
Heart disease and stroke
“The risk of cardiovascular disease increases once a woman goes through menopause,” explains Dr Latreille. “Women should discuss their individual risk with their GP and get tests that can detect high cholesterol, diabetes and blood pressure,” she says.
“Osteoporosis risk also increases after menopause and depends on many factors such as dietary intake of calcium, vitamin D levels, family history and other medical conditions and medications,” says Dr Latreille, who suggests talking to your GP about getting tested in your 50s.