By: Guest Author
Published: September 8, 2020
Written by Brooke Faulkner-Guest Contributor
To say that many women thrive as nurturers and carers in the family isn’t going to come as a surprise to many. Those of us who do decide to take on these roles know it best because we’ve lived them. But after a lifetime of putting others first, it’s never too late to put ourselves at the top of our priority list, too. And if you are specifically post-menopausal, that prioritization also means recognizing the unique health needs of this important life stage.
When you learn to give yourself the care and nurturing you need at this point in your life, you can make post-menopause not only a new phase in your life, but the best phase of your life.
Know Your Needs
Your individual health needs as a person haven’t changed just because you’ve gone through menopause, a symptom of aging for most women. So rather than looking for a one-size-fits-all strategy for taking care of your health, it’s vital to first consider what your particular health concerns might be, and from there, plan accordingly.
For instance, many post-menopausal women experience thinning of the bones, which may lead to osteoporosis and potentially life-threatening fractures. Small-framed women, especially those of caucasian and Asian descent, are usually at highest risk.
If you happen to fall into that category, it’s important to build a lifestyle that includes lots of weight-bearing exercise to help build your bones. And if you combine that with exercise to help improve your balance and flexibility, such as yoga, you’ll also decrease your risk of falling.
Another thing to keep in mind, especially post-menopause, is your particular risk for heart disease. Changes in hormone levels during and after menopause can increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
So make sure you work closely with your doctor to ensure your cardiovascular health, including monitoring your blood pressure and cholesterol. Your doctor may prescribe a regimen that combines medication, exercise, stress management, and diet to keep your heart healthy and strong for decades to come!
You are What You Eat
And speaking of diet: when it comes to staying healthy and vibrant after menopause, there are few things more important than your nutrition. After all, food is perhaps the best medicine there is,
For example, if you have a personal or family history of inflammatory diseases, you might consider adopting an anti-inflammatory diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. On the other hand, if you have a history of rosacea, you might find that some of the very fruits and vegetables that are perfect for preventing inflammation can, in fact, trigger a flare-up of your condition.
Tailoring your diet to the unique and evolving needs of your own body is part of a proven and increasingly popular preventative health strategy called “naturopathy.” But just because naturopathy is natural, diet-based, and highly effective in the majority of cases, doesn’t mean it’s safe for everyone. If you have a pre-existing health condition, and especially if you’re on medications or supplements, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle.
Getting Fit and Going Green
Adopting a healthy diet isn’t necessarily all about weight loss, though for some women, losing a little bit of weight may help ease their menopause symptoms. Especially when considering how carrying extra fat in some places can lead to heart disease and other health concerns, one of the best tricks for figuring out when you’ve reached the “danger zone” is to measure your waist circumference. For women, a waist circumference of greater than 35″ means you may be at risk for chronic and potentially life-threatening diseases.
Because of concerns like these, it’s a great idea to look into a heart health diet and the new range products known as “functional foods” that are flooding the market today. These products are specifically designed to make it easier than ever to select the foods you need to address your particular health needs, concerns, and goals, whether they be heart-health related or something else!
If you have a family history of cancer, for example, you might prefer pesticide-free, organic fruits and vegetables or animal products derived from stock raised without antibiotics. Likewise, when you’re post-menopausal, you’ll want to pay particular attention to bone health. That may well mean looking for calcium-rich and calcium-fortified foods when traditional dairy products aren’t right for your health needs.
Of course, it might not seem exactly easy to connect with your doctor in the face of a global pandemic. Whether or not shelter-in-place orders are still in effect for your state or country, you might not be exactly thrilled about the prospect of venturing into a crowded clinic or doctor’s office.
The good news, though, is that you don’t have to. While telemedicine has been around for a while, the COVID-19 outbreak has allowed the powers of virtual healthcare to really shine through. That means there’s no reason the virus should deprive you of the consistent, high quality healthcare you need and deserve. Telehealth doesn’t just make it easier and more secure to connect with your healthcare team by telephone or video conference, either, it even makes it possible for your care provider to order up diagnostic tests and remote health monitoring.
Thanks to today’s mobile health devices, your doctor can perform an at-home EKG or EEG. Your healthcare team can remotely monitor your blood glucose and blood pressure. They track the quality of your sleep and nutrition. They can even receive instant alerts should you have a medical emergency.
That means it’s faster, simpler, and more convenient than ever to keep on top of your medical care, especially when entering menopause and experiencing changes in your body. No excuses and no delays.
You’ve spent your life taking care of others and now it’s your turn. And that means recognizing the unique health risks that post-menopause may bring. Learning to give your body what it needs at this stage in your life isn’t just important, it’s imperative if you want to stay strong and healthy for years to come!
Author Bio: Brooke Faulkner is a mother of two and animal lover from Portland, Oregon.
The views expressed herein this article, written by a guest contributor, do not necessarily represent those of the Red Hot Mamas organization. The content is for informational purposes and should not substitute the advice of your doctor.