Health News

The 50s: Your Guide to Staying Healthy for Life

By the Decade

Healthy in your 50s

It shouldn’t be surprising, but if you’re a woman, most likely you’re busy with a capital B-U-S-Y. Over the years, your health may have fallen off the priority list, but now it’s time to give your well-being the VIP treatment. Starting today, it’s important for every woman, at every age, to create a foundation of good health.

In our on-going special five-part series, our team of obstetricians and gynecologists (OB/GYNs) at the Bingham Memorial Women’s Center have been discussing how you can stay healthy throughout your life—by-the-decade.

This month, Dr. Heather Pugmire, OB/GYN at Bingham Memorial Women’s Center, provides advice for women in their 50s. These include healthy strategies and important screenings that should be scheduled regularly, along with simple things women in their 50s can be doing on a daily basis to manage their health.

In Your 50s

Focus on: Get enough fiber and schedule the screenings you need—they’re essential!

Stay-healthy strategies: “High fiber is important, in particular for colon health,” says Dr. Heather Pugmire, OB/GYN at the Bingham Memorial Women’s Center. That means fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be on the menu every day. If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings or trouble sleeping, speak to your doctor about possible treatments. Learn more about perimenoupausal symptoms.

“Some women may need a little estrogen to get through the symptoms,” says Dr. Pugmire. “The goal is the lowest amount of estrogen for the shortest amount of time.”

Screenings to schedule: This time in your life brings new and necessary screenings. As you continue mammograms and Pap tests, you’ll also want to sign up for a colonoscopy at 50 and get your thyroid checked. Keep on top of your heart health by continuing to have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked every two years and five years.

Do it Yourself: Taking an aspirin a day after age 55 may lower your risk of stroke, but speak to your doctor first to find out if it’s the right move for you.

Summary                                                                                                                          Click the image to enlarge

Women in their 50s are at risk for melanoma (skin cancer), high cholesterol, breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, and stroke. 

Recommended yearly tests and screenings in your 50s:                                        

  • Annual wellness exam
  • Blood pressure (at every doctor’s appointment)
  • Cholesterol screening (every 5 years)
  • Colonoscopy screening (every 10 years, starting at 50)
  • Coronary screening with EKG
  • Depression screening
  • Diabetes/Blood sugar test (every 3 years, or yearly if overweight)
  • Flu shot
  • Mammogram (every 1 to 2 years)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pap smear (every 3 years)
  • Self-breast exam (monthly)
  • Skin screening
  • Tetanus shot (every 7 to 10 years)
  • Thyroid check (every 3 years)

 

About Heather Pugmire, MD

Dr. Pugmire is an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) at the Bingham Memorial Women’s Center. As an OB/GYN, Dr. Pugmire is qualified to care for all women’s healthcare needs. She also understands the challenges facing today’s women, and encourages patients to be open with her so she can provide the best care for them. Dr. Pugmire is always welcoming new patients, and to schedule a consultation in Blackfoot, please call 782-3900.

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Return to Health Matters for Women, March 2015 Edition