For many, age is but a number. In fact, many people are just hitting their prime when they celebrate “the big 4-0.” However, while you may be healthy and in the best shape of your life, your body has still been functioning for four decades.
Here are some illnesses that are quite common for those who are forty and beyond. In many cases, they occur due to certain lifestyle choices that may catch up over time; for others they are the result of time and heredity. Either way, if you’ve turned forty, watch out for these illnesses.
A stoke occurs when brain cells are deprived of oxygen and start to die. Statistically the risk of suffering a stroke doubles with each decade after 45 years of age. The good news is avoiding a stroke is relatively simple — pay attention to your blood pressure, eat well and stay active. Don’t smoke and find ways to find balance in your life by avoiding stressors and getting enough rest and exercise. When thinking about stroke, know the warning signs, which include slurred speech, a drooping or numb side of the face, and numbness and/or weakness on one side of the body. Recovery after a stroke can be an exhausting and frustrating endeavor, with some suffering long-term paralysis and having to relearn many basic functions, such as walking and talking.
After years of playing sports, swimming, surfing, and being out enjoying the sunshine, that tan you worked so diligently to maintain might have its own nasty little surprise to give back, in the form of melanoma, the most aggressive and likely type of skin cancer to metastasize. If you are over 40 now or have a history of sun-worshipping (or if you are fair skin and burn easily), the best advice is to get annual skin check-ups with a dermatologist. In the meantime, you can look for signs of moles and spots that change size, shape, consistency and color – all characteristics of skin cancer.
High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol
High blood pressure (also called hypertension) and high cholesterol are closely linked. Together, they can create health concerns, especially for someone over 40. High cholesterol occurs when blood arteries harden, then narrow, due to the build-up of excessive plaque and calcium. Blockage can occur, forcing the heart to work extra hard to pump blood throughout the body. This causes blood pressure to rise. The result of this combination can range from heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure, stroke and even death. If your diet is less than stellar or you have a history of high blood pressure or cholesterol, see your doctor immediately before a treatable condition becomes life-threatening.
At least half of all men over 40 suffer from a form of erectile dysfunction. And only half of those will seek treatment. Women too can experience sexual dysfunction as a result of hormone changes, vaginal dryness or pain during intercourse. And while the causes for both men and women differ, dysfunction in the bedroom quite can be treatable with medical attention.
As men age, it is inevitable that their prostates will enlarge. In fact, most men experience some sort of prostate issue during their lifetime. And while an enlarged prostate brings with it its own set of issues – to include incontinence, pain, and prostate stones – the good news is that with regular check-ups your doctor can offer any variety of treatments to relieve symptoms and prevent more serious conditions from developing with age.
Kidney stones – mineral deposits that collect in the urinary tract – are extremely painful and can make urination difficult. As we get older, our risk of getting kidney stones increases, and while smaller ones may pass with time, larger ones often require surgical attention to break them up. If you are experiencing a constant urge to urinate or, when you do, there is a burning sensation, you may have kidney stones. Seek help immediately.
Andropause is the sort of menopause for men which naturally occurs around age 40, when men’s bodies stop producing testosterone at the same rate as when men were younger. This can lead to erectile dysfunction as well as a slowed metabolism that can result in any number of issues – from weight gain to fatigue. Doctors are experienced in treating men with Low-T; it’s up to the man to seek treatment before symptoms become unmanageable.
Due to impaired pancreatic function and combined effects of increased insulin resistance, people over 40 are susceptible to developing type-2 diabetes. People over 40 are encouraged to get screened at their annual physicals for any signs of pre-diabetes.
No matter what good shape you are in, after four decades, your musculoskeletal system has taken a beating. This results in arthritis – the inflammation and stiffness that manifests in our joints. The most common types of arthritis is osteoarthritis – the “wear and tear” disease – that causes the cartilage between bones to break down, causing bone on bone pain in advanced cases.
Care for All Ages in Sarasota and Manatee Counties
Whether you are fourteen, forty, or ninety-four, if you are seeking world-class, full-service medical care in Sarasota or Manatee County, look no further than Intercoastal Medical Group. With more than 95 providers located throughout eight locations, there is a medical specialist nearby who can serve you and a lifetime of medical needs. Learn more about us or request an appointment online today.