As life moves along, it can be easy to forget the little things. If you’re in your forties or slowly approaching this golden age, here are some health mistakes to avoid.

Not scheduling regular exams

Screenings can catch problems early and give you a better chance at fighting conditions such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms starting at age 40. You should also continue pap smears and annual gynecological checkups. If you have a family history of conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, it’s important to begin regular screenings and consider lifestyle changes that can help prevent these health issues.


Ignoring signs of menopause

Are you bursting into tears more easily? Getting frustrated more often? Do your changing moods feel like a roller coaster you can’t get off of? In the months (or even years) leading up to menopause, you may experience symptoms like irregular periods, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, sleep problems, thinning hair, slowing metabolism and—yep—mood changes.

Menopause is a natural part of aging. The next time you go in for a checkup, share your symptoms with your doctor and get the conversation started about this new stage of life.


Disregarding bone density and muscle mass

Changing hormones and lifestyle choices can lead to weight gain in your forties. But fad diets that promise to burn away belly fat often deprive your body of key nutrients that are only more important as you age. To avoid developing conditions like osteoporosis, make sure you are getting a healthy dose of vitamin D and at least 1,000 mg of calcium each day.


Exercise can also play a big role in keeping bones and muscles strong. About 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise most days of the week and muscle-strengthening activities two to three days each week can prevent problems down the road.


Not focusing on your eyes

Even if you’ve had perfect vision most of your life, age can create problems you should keep an eye on. From cataracts to glaucoma, your eye doctor can catch vision issues during regular exams. You may also start to experience dry eyes from a change in hormones and a career in front of a computer screen. Through treatment options and eye drops, an ophthalmologist can make this problem a thing of the past and get you on a road toward lasting vision.


Making sleep your last priority

The National Sleep Foundation recommends all adults between the ages of 25 and 64 get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. However, busy lives and stressful schedules can make it harder to sleep, and changing hormones can bring on insomnia-filled nights.


To optimize your sleep, stick to the same sleep schedule during the week and on weekends. Keep your bedroom dark, noise-free and between 60 to 67 degrees. This will give you a better chance at falling and staying asleep.


Your forties are an exciting time. Make the most of them by safeguarding your future health.

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