3 things women should know about staying healthy in their 50s and beyond

Here's a list of the biggest health mistakes women make in their 50s

HOUSTON – What if we told you that you can improve your odds of living a longer life, and you will feel better too? Common health mistakes may be holding you back, especially if you are over the age of 50. Often times women are so busy raising families that they look up and realize they have not taken the time to take care of their own health needs. Many times, waiting too long to discover a problem could mean even bigger problems down the road.

Janice Glover is no stranger to health challenges. She survived COVID-19 and 20 days on a ventilator.

“Every breath I took, I felt as though it was my last,” Janice said.

It was a terrifying time for everyone, including her husband.

“It was very scary,” said Janice’s husband Henry.

In her 30s, Janice beat breast cancer. In her 40s, she dealt with diabetes. And in her 50s, it was high blood pressure.

Mom and grandma Susan Greer said once she hit 50, everything changed.

“In my early 50s, I just wasn’t feeling good. I was tired,” said Greer. “I just didn’t feel like the energetic self I had always been.”

Greer said she’s now getting help from Women’s health expert Dr. Dian Ginsburg who runs The GINSTITUTE of Functional Medicine.

“As you get older, that connection goes,” said Ginsburg.

Health Mistake #1

Ginsburg said the number one health mistake women in their 50s make is assuming age is to blame for how they are feeling and then not doing anything about it.

“Their memory recall goes. Their focus becomes more of a problem. They don’t feel themselves, but they’re embarrassed to say anything,” said Ginsburg.

Ginsburg said the first thing women experiencing these issues should do is talk to their doctor about balancing hormones.

“I know I’m sharper and likely to remain sharper with the proper balance of hormones, and that type of thing,” said Susan.

Doctors can test hormone levels and get them in a normal range. Despite some risks associated with hormone therapy, Ginsburg said it is safe overall.

“And I think there are millions of women that would benefit and age very, very well,” said Ginsburg.

Health Mistake #2

The second mistake women make - not taking care of their gut health and not realizing so many problems are linked to it.

“The list of gut microbiome issues is completely linked to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It’s completely linked to MS. It’s linked to all autoimmune diseases. It’s linked to any kind of brain problem. It’s linked to Crohn’s disease. It’s linked to irritable bowel,” said Ginsburg.

Her suggestion for treatment:

“As long as you’re getting a probiotic from a good reputable company that will help you, the bugs will go down. They will wake up in your small and large intestine, and what they really do is, they up-regulate the immune system,” said Ginsburg.

Health Mistake #3

Health mistake number three women often make is not starting early enough on bone health. Osteoporosis is a huge health complication for women over 50.

“So what happens is, women start to panic because they’ll do their bone density at 50 when it’s low,” explains Ginsburg. “The ability to turn bone and muscle over and make it stronger decreases, so you have to stimulate it more.”

Ginsburg recommends that the best way to stimulate your bones is by lifting weights for exercise or resistance training. She also recommends having your calcium and Vitamin D levels checked.

“I think if you do everything right, I think you can stay fit and healthy for sure,” she said.

Staying fit and healthy from age 50 and beyond, so when your immune system is forced to fight off illness like Janice had to do, you will be ready.

“So, I’m blessed beyond measures, and I take nothing for granted,” said Janice.

“I really would encourage everyone to find out what is going on in your body. It doesn’t hurt just to find out,” said Susan.

Screenings for Women 50+

There are screening tests you should make sure you are doing after you turn 50. The National Library of Medicine recommends health checks to screen for medical issues. This includes screenings for blood pressure issues, breast cancer, cervical cancer, cholesterol, colorectal cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis. This is just a list to get you started. You should see your primary care physician for specific recommendations for you.

Lifestyle changes women 50+ should consider

There are many lifestyle changes women should make as they enter their 50s. Often, routines we establish when we are younger turn into something we never change.

-Sunscreen: Women should apply sunscreen not just on their faces, but also on the neck, hands, and knees. These are often places that show age first. Sunscreen helps keep sun damage at bay.

-Skincare: Another lifestyle tip is to update and revise your skincare routine. Often, you can make yourself look older by using hot water or harsh soaps on your face.

-Exercise: A good workout is also an important step in your daily routine, especially as you age. As mentioned above, strength training is one of the best exercises for women over the age of 50. Here are a few simple strength training exercises you can do at home.

-Vitamins: Dr. Ginsburg also recommends revisiting your vitamin routine. Just because you found a vitamin routine that works for you years ago, you may need to reevaluate your current health needs. Here’s more on the vitamins women should take at different ages.

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