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The 6 Biggest Health Mistakes Women Make in Their 30s

In Great Articles Found Doing Research, Health, Lifestyle, News, wellness on August 29, 2015 at 10:00

By Joan Raymond | TODAY Show

For many women, turning 30 marks the real beginning of adulthood. You’re established in a career, and maybe in a relationship. You might be thinking about starting a family. You feel pretty good about yourself, and all the health indiscretions of your 20s — remember those all-night parties and how you still managed to make it into work the next day? — haven’t taken much of a health toll.

Let’s face it, ages 30 to 39 are prime time. “All in all, the thirties are a very positive time for health, but it’s also the time you have to start developing excellent habits as an investment in the future,” says Dr. Debra DeJoseph, medical director of The Women’s Health Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio.

In other words, the healthy lifestyle habits you ignore now could set the stage for a less than healthy life in your 40s and beyond.

Here are the six biggest health mistakes to avoid in your 30s.

1. You don’t think about your muscle mass.

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Although aerobic exercise is “arguably the single best thing you can do for your cardiovascular health,” and some studies show it may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and some forms of cancer, women in their thirties should make time for strength training, too, says internist Dr. Holly Phillips, author of “The Exhaustion Breakthrough; Unmask the Hidden Reasons You’re Tired and Beat Fatigue for Good.”

At about age 30 — even if you’re active — humans begin losing muscle mass. If you’re a compete couch potato, you can lose as much as 5 percent of muscle mass every decade after age 30.

To help keep your muscles strong and functioning well, women should incorporate strength training into their exercise regimens. “Strength training creates microscopic tears in muscle tissues,” which then triggers the muscles to rebuild and strengthen, says Phillips.

2. You ignore a metabolism slowdown.

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An extra bonus of strength training is burning calories, which increases your metabolism, says Phillips. It seems that as we age, metabolism does slow down for various reasons, including genetics, hormones, and diet, to name a few. Add into the mix the fact that body fat increases incrementally after age 30, with fat accumulating around the middle, according to the National Institutes of Health. Although the metabolic slow-down in your thirties isn’t huge, if you don’t take steps to rev it up, you could potentially pack on double-digit pounds as you age.

Keep your metabolism peppy with strength training. “It (strength training) not only burns calories, but it increases the percentage of muscle mass in your body which boosts your metabolism in the long-term,” says Phillips, who suggests cutting out as many processed foods as possible during this decade filling up on lean proteins and omega-3s like fish and nuts. Also, make fruits and vegetables about 70 percent of your diet, she suggests.

3. You miscalculate fertility.

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Very simply, age is a factor when it comes to fertility. The older you are, the tougher it is to conceive, and there is a “gradual decline” in fertility for women, starting at about age 32, which takes a sharper drop when a woman reaches about age 37, explains OB/GYN Dr. Judith Volkar of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “In general, women don’t understand the decline in fertility and they put off child bearing thinking they have plenty of time,” she says. “But peak fertility for women is when they’re in their twenties. It can be a difficult conversation when a woman in her thirties or older is trying to get pregnant and can’t.”

To be clear, pregnancy is “absolutely not impossible” in the 30s, and many women will get pregnant, says Volkar, citing stats showing a woman’s chance of conceiving within a year in her earlier 30s is about 75 percent, dropping to about 65 percent in the late 30s. “Education is really important, and I don’t want to alarm women, since putting off childbearing until the 30s makes a lot of sense for many women,” says Volkar. “I just want women in their 30s to be mindful of fertility.”

4. You don’t make time to see the doctor.

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We know you’re busy, but it’s important to make time for screening for a variety of problems that are “silent” like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Ideally, women should start being screened in their 20s. But if you don’t know your cholesterol numbers by now, make the time to schedule a lipid panel screening, which includes total cholesterol, LDL levels (the so-called “bad” cholesterol), HDL or “good” cholesterol levels, and triglycerides. If all is good, you don’t have to have another test for about five years. But if your numbers aren’t stellar, you and your doctor can work out a plan that includes diet, exercise, weight loss, and sometimes, medication, says DeJoseph.

Regardless of your age, get a blood pressure screening every one to two years. And, of course, don’t put off PAP testing, Starting at age 30 (through age 64), get a PAP test and HPV (human papillomavirus) test together every five years — or a PAP test alone every three years. You may have to have more frequent PAPs if abnormal results are found.

5. You treat your skin like you’re still a teenager.

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Adult acne is an issue for women in their thirties. “It’s almost epidemic and it might be caused by stress, diet and hormones,” explains New York City dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe. The biggest mistake women in their thirties make is treating their acne with “. . . harsh chemicals designed for teenage skin,” she says. Instead, she recommends choosing gentle cleaners that don’t strip the skin of natural oils. Look to retinoid creams or lotions that can help with breakouts as well as reduce wrinkles — even though you may not have many yet. And if that doesn’t work, see a dermatologist who can provide a customized treatment plan.

And, of course, don’t forget about sunscreen — ever. Sun damage, wrinkles, and dullness may not show up until your forties, but “anti-aging skin care products and lasers aren’t magic,” says Krant, adding that “every day counts in reducing cumulative ultraviolet radiation damage to cells and connective tissue.” Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your neck and chest, too.

Don’t think you’re too young for skin cancer. Familiarize yourself with skin cancer symptoms, and see your doctor if you notice suspicious moles or skin changes.

6. You light up.

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Although smoking cigarettes is no longer socially acceptable, many women still light up, whether it’s to reduce stress or try to maintain weight. Although women are not as likely to smoke as men, about 18 percent of women ages 25 to 44 are smoking, according to the American Cancer Society.

“Smoking affects everything from your ability to conceive, the health of a fetus and, of course, your health even if you don’t want to get pregnant,’ says OB/GYN Volkar. “The earlier you quit, the better your health.”

Those aren’t empty words. A 2012 study of some one million women published in The Lancet showed that quitting smoking before age 40, “avoids more than 90% of the excess mortality caused by continuing smoking,” according to the authors. So, if you’re still smoking, it seems that right now — today — is a great time to quit. There are many programs and medications available to help you kick the habit for good.

Source: HealthNewsDigest.com

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Quitting by 30 ‘cuts smoker risk’

In Great Articles Found Doing Research, Health, Lifestyle on October 30, 2012 at 16:35

 

Women who give up smoking by the age of 30 will almost completely avoid the risks of dying early from tobacco-related diseases, according to a study of more than a million women in the UK.

The results, published in the Lancet, showed lifelong smokers died a decade earlier than those who never started.

But those who stopped by 30 lost, on average, a month of life and if they stopped by 40 they died a year younger.

Health experts said this was not a licence for the young to smoke.

Former smoker Angela

Angela started smoking when she was 11. “Before I knew it, I was addicted,” she said.

She used to hide her habit by taking the dog out for a walk. At one point she was smoking 10 cigarettes a day and more if she was going out.

After several attempts to quit she was successful: “I had a bit of a health scare and that really gave me the motivation to finally kick the habit.”

She is now 29 and says it is “brilliant” news that quitting before the age of 30 could make a big difference to her health.

“It’s amazing, I can feel it already actually.”

The study followed the first generation of women to start smoking during the 1950s and 60s. As women started smoking on a large scale much later than men, the impact of a lifetime of cigarettes has only just been analysed for women.

“What we’ve shown is that if women smoke like men, they die like men,” said lead researcher Prof Sir Richard Peto, from Oxford University.

He told the BBC: “More than half of women who smoke and keep on smoking will get killed by tobacco.

“Stopping works, amazingly well actually. Smoking kills, stopping works and the earlier you stop the better.”

Professor Peto added the crucial risk factor was “time” spent smoking, rather than amount.

“If you smoke 10 cigarettes a day for 40 years it’s a lot more dangerous than smoking 20 cigarettes a day for 20 years,” he said.

“Even if you smoke a few cigarettes a day then you’re twice as likely to die at middle age.”

He added it was hard to measure the risk of “social smoking” a few times a week.

Early death

The records from 1.2 million women showed that even those who smoked fewer than 10 cigarettes a day were more likely to die sooner.

Sir Richard said that it was exactly the same picture as for men.

The British Lung Foundation said the prospects for long-term health were much better if people stopped smoking before they were 30, but cautioned that this was not a licence to smoke “as much as you want in your 20s”.

Its chief executive, Dr Penny Woods, said: “Stopping smoking can also be difficult to do – an estimated 70% of current smokers say they want to quit, so you shouldn’t start and just assume you’ll be able to quit smoking whenever you want to.

smoking

  • Smoking is responsible for more than five million deaths worldwide every year
  • Smoking tobacco is a known or probable cause of around 25 diseases
  • Cigarette smoke contains 4,000 chemicals that can damage the human body
  • Eighty of which are known to cause cancer

“The best thing for your health is to avoid smoking at all.”

Prof Robert West, from the health behaviour research unit at University College London, said it was important to remember that smoking had more effects on the body than leading to an early death, such as ageing the skin.

“Around your mid-20s your lung function peaks and then declines. For most people that’s fine – by the time you’re into your 60s and 70s it’s still good enough. But if you’ve smoked, and then stopped there is irreversible damage, which combined with age-related decline can significantly affect their quality of life.

“Obviously there is an issue around smoking if they want to get pregnant because it affects fertility and then there are the dangers of smoking during and after pregnancy.”

The chartered health psychologist, Dr Lisa McNally, who specialises in NHS stop smoking services, also emphasised other factors.

Speaking to BBC News, she said: “There’s the danger isn’t there that people could almost take permission to continue to smoke to 30 or even to 40, but actually in my experience younger women quit smoking for other reasons other than life expectancy.

“They’re more concerned about the cosmetic effects.”

The Department of Health has announced that more than 268,000 people registered to take part in its “Stoptober” campaign – the UK’s first ever mass event to stop smoking.

Health minister Anna Soubry said the £5.7m campaign had “exceeded expectations”, adding that smokers were “five times more likely to give up for good after 28 days”.

Source: BBC Health

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