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    Life doesn’t stop after menopause, so make sure you’re getting the women’s health care you need! Staying healthy is important for your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. You’re in control and we’re here to help! Our providers are here to help you understand your health risks and help reduce them with healthy lifestyle changes and quality healthcare services.

    Health Risks After Menopause

    Most women reach menopause around age 51. Around this time, due to normal aging and low estrogen levels, your risks for some health conditions go up. This might mean making some changes and working with your women’s health clinic to reduce your risks. It can also mean getting regular screenings to help with early detection and treatment. Whatever the case, we’re here to help you take control of your health. 

    Around this time, your risks increase for conditions like:

    • Osteoporosis
    • Heart disease
    • Obesity
    • Urinary incontinence
    • Dry skin
    • High blood pressure
    • Cholesterol
    • Diabetes

    This might seem pretty frightening, but the good news is there are many things you can do to help reduce your risks. For example, making healthy lifestyle changes may help lower your risk for most of the conditions on that list. You’re in the driver’s seat and our women’s health care professionals are here to help you design a personalized plan to stay healthy after menopause.

    Maintaining (or Starting) a Healthy Lifestyle

    Around middle age, it’s more important than ever to lead a healthy lifestyle. Like we mentioned, your health risks do go up with age, so the healthier you live, the better. Getting serious about making healthy choices not only helps reduce risks for preventable conditions, but it can also help you feel healthier, stronger, more energetic, and happier. So, it’s time to make a commitment to treat your body the best you can!

    Now, even if you haven’t led the healthiest lifestyle until now, there’s still plenty you can do! It might take a little extra work and you might have to take smaller steps to get there, but you’ve got a women’s health care team on your side. Don’t forget to enlist some daily cheerleaders through friends and family to help you make healthier choices. 

    Diet After Menopause

    Eating healthy is another way you can follow a healthy lifestyle after 50. What you eat has a pretty big impact on a lot of different things, from mood and energy levels to weight gain and cholesterol levels. Making healthy diet choices empowers you to get the fuel and nutrients you need for a healthy, active lifestyle.

    What many women don’t realize is that you need fewer calories after menopause. Most women around this time lose some muscle mass as a part of normal aging. Muscles burn a lot of calories, so with less muscle tissue, you’ll likely need fewer calories.

    How many calories you need depends on a lot of different factors, so talk to our women’s health care provider about your specific needs. However, here’s a general guide:

    • 1,600 calories a day if you get a low amount of activity
    • 1,800 if you get moderate amount of activity 
    • 2,000-2,200 if you get a high amount of activity

    In addition, we recommend eating a balanced diet with foods from all five food groups each day. This can help you get a variety of foods in your diet and help you get the nutrition you need. Nutrition and vitamins after menopause are extremely important for helping reduce your health risks. For example, you need plenty of calcium and vitamin D to help keep your bones strong. This means eating a healthy diet and potentially working with our women’s health care provider to see which vitamin supplements you need. 

    Don’t forget keeping hydrated! Getting enough water each day can help with everything from dry skin to keeping your urinary tract healthy. If water isn’t appealing, you can even try infusing it with berries or other fruits to give it some flavor. 

    Exercise

    Getting plenty of exercise has so many benefits, from reducing the risk for heart disease, improving your mood, keeping your weight in check, and helping bone health. Active adults are also less likely to suffer from depression and cognitive decline! So, getting some physical activity is especially important as we age.

    Aerobic Exercise

    Two women holding bicycles after talking to their women’s health care provider about aerobic exercise after menopause

    Biking is a great way to get aerobic exercise in. Talk to our women’s health care providers about other exercises you can do!

    Most women should shoot for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week. This is about 30 minutes five days a week or 21-22 minutes every day of the week. Some aerobic exercises include:

    • Walking
    • Jogging
    • Dancing
    • Swimming
    • Biking
    • Climbing stairs or hills
    • Tennis

    How do you know if you’re getting moderate intensity aerobic exercise? Talk to someone! If you’re breathing heavily, but can still have a conversation, then you’re getting moderate intensity aerobic exercise. However, if you’re struggling to talk, then you’re getting vigorous aerobic exercise. If you like vigorous exercises more, then do those about 75 minutes a week instead.

    Strength Exercise

    Strength exercises can help keep your bones healthy and help you build muscle tissue, which offers its own benefits like burning more calories. Most women need to do strength exercises twice a week, allowing for rest time in between.

    Exercise all your major muscle groups during these sessions with 10-15 repetitions of the exercise. Some strength exercises include:

    • Lifting weights
    • Body weight exercises  (like squats and pushups)

    Consider also doing exercises that prioritize flexibility and balance. These are also helpful for daily tasks (like picking dropped items off the floor for those of us clumsy folks).

    If you’re just starting out exercising for the first time, don’t panic. Even if you can’t jump right into those recommendations, it’s okay! Make a goal to do just 10 minutes of activity each day and gradually ramp it up as you can.

    Limit Alcohol, Caffeine, Quit Nicotine

    As we age, our bodies handle certain things a little differently. That may mean it’s time to cut back on certain things or quit entirely. Things like alcohol and caffeine may affect you differently than they did before, and too much of either of these can have health impacts. Smoking can also cause serious health issues. So, we’re here to help you take control of your health and limit or quit these things entirely. 

    Drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk for things like osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more.  In some cases, it may make the most sense for you to quit, depending on your risk factors. However, if you still want to enjoy the occasional glass of wine, keep in mind that most health experts recommend drinking less than one drink a day to reduce some of the risks.

    Caffeine can also cause some negative effects for your health, so it may be time to limit your caffeine intake. It can make it hard to stay hydrated, because it’s a diuretic. It can also affect how much stress hormone your body releases, which can increase blood pressure, heart rate, and many other things. Caffeine can also interfere with your sleep schedule and make it hard to get enough sleep at night. So, if you’re having issues with these things, it may be time to cut back. 

    Smoking also has major health effects at any age, increasing your risk for heart disease, lung cancer, and so much more. If you’re a smoker, no time is better than the present for quitting. We can help you come up with strategies to help you quit!

    Regular Women’s Health Care Visits

    In addition to making healthy lifestyle changes, it’s also important to schedule regular appointments at our women’s health clinic. Routine appointments are important for helping with early detection of health conditions, screening for risks, and developing an overall plan to help you stay healthy!

    Screenings You Need 

    Health screenings help us have a conversation about your risks and overall health. Health screenings after menopause might include:

    • Blood Pressure: In most cases we do this every visit. 
    • Breast Cancer: Many women do monthly self-exams to find abnormal signs in their breasts. We also recommend a mammogram every one to two years for most women. 
    • Pap Test: Many women don’t realize they still need pap tests after menopause, but we generally recommend getting one every one to three years to help detect signs of cervical cancer.
    • Cholesterol: For most women, we do a cholesterol test to screen for high cholesterol at least every five years. This may be more frequent if your cholesterol levels are high or you have other risks.
    • Colon Cancer: Health experts recommend colon cancer screenings between ages 50 and 75. There are many different options, ranging from stool tests to colonoscopies. Each type has different benefits and drawbacks, so which you choose depends on your risk factors and preferences. 
    • Blood Sugar: For most women, you’ll need a blood sugar test every three years to test for diabetes. It may be more often if you have certain risks. This is a fasting blood test we perform at our women’s health clinic to look at how much sugar is in your blood. 
    • Bone Density Scans: Bone density scans look for issues with bone density that could lead to osteoporosis or fractures. If you’re over 50 with a history of adult fractures or you’re under 65 with certain risk factors, we may recommend a bone density test. 

    Also, it’s important to talk about vaccines and keep seeing other providers like dentists and eye doctors.

    Quality, Empowering Women’s Health Care at HerKare

    At HerKare, our team is here to help you address your health today! We take time to listen, to understand, and then to help you start feeling better. Whether you want to talk about personalized preventative health strategies or need help getting to the bottom of your symptoms, we’re here to help. Make an appointment today!