Q: How can a woman in her late teens and early 20s establish lifelong healthy habits?
Marla Ahlgrimm: One of the most important things you can do is begin a routine of having an annual well-woman visit. Most health insurance plans cover this visit 100% so, chances are, you won’t be anything out-of-pocket. Maintain a balanced diet and make sure you get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Don’t forget about your sleep, women at this stage need seven to eight hours of sleep every night for optimum health benefits.
Q: How is self-care different between your 20s and 40s?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Women in their 20s and 40s have similar health care needs, with the exception of those entering to menopause. These women may need to speak with their doctor about ways to mitigate the negative effects of waning hormones. This could include dietary changes or hormone therapy.
Q: Should a woman in her 50s continue to exercise?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Absolutely. Physical activity is important for women of all ages. It helps improve our cardiovascular systems, keeps metabolism running, and allows our brains to remain active, as well. Women in their 50s, like women of all ages, should limit alcohol consumption and quit (or not start) smoking. At this stage, you may want to talk to healthcare provider about menopause symptoms and ask if you need any additional tests including colorectal cancer screening.
Q: What screenings or vaccinations should a woman receive in her 80s and 90s?
Marla Ahlgrimm: At your annual well woman visit, your doctor might suggest being screened for osteoporosis and high blood pressure. Make sure to get your flu shot every year and get tested for sexually transmitted infections, especially if you’ve been sexually active within the last 10 years, as many may lay dormant.