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Top Health Concerns for Every Decade
Mikayla Borchert
Benovate Staff & Content Editor
Monitor Your Health & Well-being.

Here’s a total buzzkill of an activity to suggest at your next family get-together: make a list of your top health concerns. You’d expect there to be major differences between genders, but there are probably even bigger differences by generation. Age is a huge factor in health; understanding the biggest concerns of your age group, coupled with any genetic predispositions, puts you in a good place to monitor health and well-being.

So what things should you be paying attention? Bone density and menopause are two concerns that primarily affect women, but many of the other concerns can apply across genders. Check out our breakdown below: 

Here are Top Healthy Concerns for Every Decade:
20’s
men
Almost 19 million new sexually transmitted disease infections occur annually, mostly among ages 24 and under. Since the most common ones—HPV and chlamydia—don’t have super obvious outward symptoms, it’s important to get tested regularly.
Be sure to have your yearly physical and be honest and open with your doctor.
women
Melanoma, or skin cancer, is the leading cause of death among 25-29 year-old women.  Even though 75% of sun damage is done by age 18, there’s 25% still under control in your 20s.  Make sure to have any new moles (or changes in appearance of old moles) checked out ASAP by a dermatologist.
Be sure to wear sunscreen everyday, not just at the beach. This extra step in the morning can make a big difference. You may also consider wearing a hat when spending time outside. Make a yearly appointment with your doctor or a dermatologist to get a skin screening, especially if you work outside or have more sun exposure than the typical person.
30’s
men
Depression and stress start to take a toll in this decade, with the median age of depression onset 32.  Obligations start to mount (work, mortgage, retirement saving, etc), and life can turn into a kind of stress pressure cooker.
It be easy to let the pressure of life affect your happiness. Be sure to keep getting enough sleep during stressful times, because being tired will only exacerbate the symptoms. Use relaxation techniques to combat anxious thoughts, and make time to get out of the house to do something you enjoy.
women
Bone mass peaks in your 20’s, so it’s important to take extra care of your bones throughout this decade. If you can keep your bone mass at a healthy level while you’re young, your chances of osteoporosis in the coming years will be lower.
Make sure to get plenty of calcium and vitamin D for your bone health. Try to get it from your diet, but talk to your doctor if you think you aren’t getting enough. They can help you decide if a supplement is necessary. Exercises with high levels of impact can cause bone development. Examples of such exercises are running, jumping rope, and box jumps. These activities often become more difficult with age, so it’s important to start now.
40’s
men
In your 40s, the risks of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes escalate.  The best things to do at this time (it’s never too late to try to reduce the risk) are bettering your diet and exercise habits.
Reduce the amount of carbs you eat, and keep an eye on your waist. Gaining weight around your midsection is a big sign of Type 2 diabetes.
women
Breast cancer. Nearly 18% of breast cancer diagnoses happen to women in their 40s, and it doesn’t really get better (rising to 77% for those over 50). Watch your diet, start exercising, and be sure to complete regular self exams. If you notice any changes, tell your doctor right away.
Daily alcohol consumption increases your risk of breast cancer, and exercise lowers your risk. Swap the nightcap out for a daily walk or jog.

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50’s
men
Now you’re in the primary decade to start worrying about heart disease and stroke risks. High blood pressure and high cholesterol lead to these, so make an effort to quit smoking, consume less alcohol, and maintain a healthy diet.
Keep an eye on your stress levels, diet, exercise, and blood pressure. Many of these things go hand-in-hand, and your doctor may be able to help you make a personalized plan for change. It’s never too late to take your health into your own hands.
women
Healthy Women calls this the decade of the hormone…specifically, estrogen. Menopause typically happens at age 51, which means you might notice hot flashes (or, you know, REALLY notice them) and that your skin is thinner and dryer. Modify your skin care regimen to include more moisturizing.
Get your bone density checked and talk to your doctor about hot flashes and any other symptoms you are having. These symptoms can disrupt your regular activities, and there are ways for your doctor to help.
60’s
men
Chronic pain—arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, and back pain—may manifest earlier, but in your 60s they become more pronounced. Colorectal screenings should also become a normal part of the doctor visit (maybe even earlier if there is a family history of the disease).
Lack of motion can cause your muscles and joints to become more stiff and painful. Complete regular exercise and stretching to help loosen up your body. If the pain is bad enough, you may need to talk to your doctor about medication.
women
We’re all gradually losing bone mass, but in this decade, it’s important to watch for osteoporosis and to try to counter the effects. If you’ve been paying attention since your 20’s and 30’s, your bones should be in a good place. However, it’s never too late to start working on your skeletal health.
Consume lots of calcium and try to engage in regular weight-bearing exercises. The activities we mentioned for your 30’s may be painful or difficult now, but studies have shown that even gardening can help slow the bone loss. Talk to your doctor of a fitness professional for help finding exercises to fit your needs and skill level.
70’s
men and women
Past the 60’s decade, the changes in concerns for men and women dovetail in changes in brain function. Hormone changes contribute to short-term memory loss and word recall, as well as trouble sleeping and serotonin levels, affecting your sense of well-being.
Stay physically active, socialize, and play mentally stimulating games. According to Jill Suttie at University of California, Berkeley, even video games can help keep your mind sharp.
80’s
men and women
There are a plethora of things to worry about when you’re 80, but many of them were mentioned above. Except for one: you should expect difficulty getting in and out of chairs.
In short, it seems like the two best things to do in order to try and head off some these concerns are:

  •  Maintain a healthy diet
  •  Get regular exercise

Eating well and exercising with functional movements will help keep your everyday activities possible. Practice squats to maintain your ability to use chairs without pain, and stretch regularly to maintain your range of motion. If you have trouble with balance, make sure you are not alone while exercising. Talk to your doctor before starting any new habits or programs.

Start Protecting Your Health Today!
Beyond eating well and exercising often, we can all hope to have a disease free family history. If you know something runs in your family, talk to your doctor about how to take extra care in preventing that issue. And stop smoking. That’s probably the #1 thing you can do to protect your health. At the very least, we’re all in this together.

What are your top three health concerns, and how do you mitigate them?

 

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