By the time a woman reaches the age of 50, she likely knows what she needs to do to monitor, and maintain, good health. After all, you can’t turn on the TV, open a newspaper, or surf the web without reading solid advice about what to eat, how to exercise, and which medical tests to take. We were surprised, then, by a FabOverFifty poll of 220 women which revealed that many of us aren’t as much on top of our health and wellbeing as we should be.
Sixty percent of the respondents are 55 – 65 years old; 28 percent are 45 – 54, and 12 percent are over 65; correspondingly, 66 percent are done with menopause and 21 percent are still going through it. When it comes to age related health problems, 22 percent have heart-related issues; 37 percent have arthritis; 29 percent experience bladder issues, and 14 percent have osteopenia.
Despite these numbers, not enough women are having the necessary tests that can help detect countless other health issues, including colon and rectal cancers and melanoma, three cancers that can likely be cured if discovered early and treated. A whopping 37 percent of the respondents have NEVER had a colonoscopy, even though major healthcare organizations recommended that women who are at average risk of getting colon cancer should have a baseline colonoscopy at 50. Sadly, pretty much everyone of us is at average risk, since the factors that raise our chances include age, a high-fat diet, diabetes, obesity, smoking, drinking alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle.
Forty percent of the women who took the poll admit to being overweight, and 30 percent say they’re obese (20+ pounds overweight), which doesn’t just put at us greater risk for colon cancer; it increases our risk for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.
Only 16 percent of women visit dermatologists once a year for full body checkups to detect melanoma, a potentially fatal skin disease. It’s a startling revelation that 59 percent of us never go to a dermatologist!
If you don’t know, by the time you’re 50, that exercise is the key to a longer, healthier life, you must be living on another planet. Why then, did 28 percent of the respondents report that they rarely, or even worse, never exercise, and 18 percent exercise only a few times a month?
Getting a full blood work panel and urinalysis every single year, if not twice a year, are two other smart moves, since these tests reveal our important cholesterol numbers, blood glucose level, white and red blood cell counts, kidney and liver functions, and other crucial bodily activities that keep us alive. Despite the importance of taking these quick and simple tests, 15 percent of women report they’ve never had them done, and 22 percent have blood and urine workups every other year.
On the (sort of) good news front, 70 percent of the poll respondents said they have annual mammograms. But, considering the constant publicity mammograms have received during the last few decades, why isn’t that figure even higher?
Women may be natural caregivers for others, but no one can force us to take care of our own health and wellbeing. Don’t wait to become a statistic. Start caring today!