Being aware of our bodies and our health is an essential part of staying fit and well. Knowing what ‘normal’ feels like for your specific body can help you notice any changes in how you’re feeling, and understand when it’s time to check in with your doctor.
Whilst this might sound scary, not all health conditions are something to be afraid of. In fact, there are many common conditions that a large number of people will experience as they grow older, which can be managed with the correct support, either through self-management where appropriate or with the help of an experienced health professional. Being familiar with these common conditions can help you know what symptoms to look out for and track, so that you have clear information to give your doctor if needed.
In this post, we take a look at four common conditions that you should be aware of.
Perimenopause and menopause
A natural part of aging as a woman is going through menopause. As we get older, hormone levels drop, causing periods to stop and signalling the end of the childbearing cycle. This typically happens between 45-55, but it can happen earlier depending on the individual.
You may associate menopause with hot flushes, mood swings and anxiety, but this is actually perimenopause – the term menopause refers to the time your periods have stopped for 12 months. Remember, just because these symptoms are common doesn’t mean that you can’t get help. If you’re struggling, talk to a health professional.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a very common condition that affects millions of people around the world. It causes the sugar levels to become too high, and can cause symptoms like excessive thirst and tiredness, and can increase your risk of eye and heart problems.
There are many steps you can take to prevent type 2 diabetes such as eating well, incorporating physical activity into your daily routine and maintaining a healthy weight. However, if you already have close family members with the condition, it’s worth being extra vigilant, as this increases your risk of developing it too.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, means that it’s harder for your blood to get around your body. In turn, this can put you at risk of serious conditions like heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and vascular dementia. Luckily, you can easily measure your blood pressure using a home device or at your local doctor’s surgery.
If you are close to or already have high blood pressure, then speak to your doctor. They can prescribe medication to help, but you should also try to reduce the amount of salt in your diet, as well as cutting back on caffeine and alcohol.
Gout is a painful form of arthritis. It occurs when too much uric acid builds up in the body and causes swelling and pain in the joints. Some common symptoms include sudden intense joint pain or swelling, difficulty moving joints, red or purplish skin around affected area, hot feeling around affected area, stiff joints and more. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for gout, but taking certain medications and leading a healthy lifestyle will help manage the condition successfully over time.
Whilst some of these conditions might sound scary, being informed and aware will help you keep yourself fit and healthy. If you notice that something doesn’t feel right, then always speak to a health professional.