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Women's health through the decades

This guide to good health runs through the stages of your life and highlights things you'll want to stay on top of as you get older. Each decade has a checklist of things for you or your doctor to check out.

Health in your 20s

Your 20s are often an exciting time in your life. Getting sick is probably the furthest thing on your mind. But it is important to remember that the decisions you make now about your lifestyle can shape your future health.

Healthy tips

Health checklist

Health in your 30s

Your 30s can be a busy time in your life, where it’s important to find balance and make time for healthy habits to maintain your health.

Make sure to take time to exercise, eat healthy and get regular health checks.

Healthy tips

Health checklist

Health in your 40s

In your 40s you may notice subtle changes in your body which you might need to check so they don't become problematic.

As you get older your metabolism can slow down and it becomes easier to put on weight and harder to lose it. So eating healthy and exercising regularly is more important than ever before.

You should be aware of the normal look and feel of your breasts and discuss any concerns with your doctor including when to start regular (every 2 years) breast cancer screening.

You may also be starting to notice changes in your menstrual cycle as your hormone levels begin to change in preparation for menopause.

While many older women have a safe and healthy pregnancies, women who become pregnant in their 40s face higher risk of complications in their pregnancy including miscarriage and possible birth defects.

So while you should be feeling fabulous in your 40s, you also need to be aware of the changes occurring in your body and keeping things in check.

Healthy tips

Health checklist

Health in your 50s

As you enter your 50s, you will see more changes in your body and most likely your lifestyle. You may need to consult with your doctor or health care professional more to ensure you are getting all the appropriate checks done.

Once you start menopause your bone density starts to rapidly decrease because your body produces less oestrogen. Your doctor may recommend a bone density test every couple of years, especially if osteoporosis runs in your family.

If you are overweight you're at greater risk of diabetes and should be getting regular checks on your blood glucose levels. But remember, it's never too late to reduce your weight and get healthy.

You should be visiting your doctor regularly and getting your blood pressure checked or you can get free blood pressure checks at your local pharmacy through the National Stroke Foundation. Your doctor may also start checking your cholesterol, especially if you:

  • smoke
  • have diabetes
  • are overweight
  • have a sedentary lifestyle
  • have an unhealthy diet.

Once you reach 50 and beyond you may become more at risk of some cancers including breast cancer, bowel and ovarian cancer. You should become more aware of symptoms and ensure you are having the appropriate health checks.

It is never too late to make positive changes to your lifestyle. Your 50s is a great time to make your health a priority.

Healthy tips

Health checklist

Health in your 60s and beyond

While age is no barrier to doing all you want to do at this time, your health could be. So it is important to continue with a healthy lifestyle and maintaining regular health checks. It’s never too late to start working on healthy habits.

Heart disease is the number one killer of Australian women and is largely preventable. Make sure you are keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes eating a wide range of healthy foods and being physically active regularly.

The risk of developing some cancers increase as you get older so it is important to continue with regular cancer screening.

Osteoporosis can be significantly debilitating for women over 60. Bone fractures and breaks can put you out of action for long periods so you need to keep track of your bone density and do regular exercise to maintain balance, strength and agility.

You may also need to check your hearing and eyesight regularly as they are more prone to decline as you get older.

Stay mentally stimulated through activities such as study, socialising, volunteering, pursuing your creative side, reading, crosswords and other hobbies.

Make sure you get an annual health check-up and talk with your doctor or health professional about any health or emotional concerns you might have. If you notice anything different about your body, or something just doesn’t feel right, be sure to talk to your doctor. Remember, it’s never too late to start looking after your health.

Healthy tips

Health checklist