If you’re a woman in her twenties, you probably believe you don’t have to worry about 5 health problems like strokes and colon cancer just yet. However, recent evidence suggests that they may influence you sooner than you believe. According to recent research, certain illnesses linked with old age impact younger persons, while others are heavily influenced by what you do in your twenties and thirties.
5 Health Problems You Actually Need To know
“With the obesity and sedentary lifestyle epidemics, we’re seeing an increase in risk factors like high cholesterol, smoking, and high blood pressure in younger adults,” says Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S., associate director of preventive cardiology at The Johns Hopkins University’s Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease. “However, it’s crucial to note that these risk factors are entirely avoidable.” Women can considerably reduce their likelihood of having these health problems if they adopt lifestyle changes today.”
Protect yourself against problems that are impacting more and more young women. Here’s what you should know.
Blood pressure is too high
High blood pressure (when blood flows too strongly through your veins) is commonly referred to as the “silent killer.” This is because most people with it have no symptoms, despite the fact that the illness damages the heart, kidneys, blood vessels, and brain.
High blood pressure affects 7% of women between the ages of 20 and 34. While the prevalence appears to be modest, the major concern is that young individuals are significantly less likely to be detected and treated for the disorder. High blood pressure, if left untreated, can lead to heart problems later in life and is the main cause of strokes. In fact, simply keeping your blood pressure under control decreases your chance of stroke by 48%.
Pregnancy can foreshadow your chance of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. If you suffer preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), you are more likely to have high blood pressure and heart issues later in life. “Pregnancy is like a stress test for your body,” Michos says. If you have problems, it is a warning that you may have health concerns that will resurface later.”
Diabetes type 2
You might have diabetes and be completely unaware of it. That is the situation for an estimated 3.1 million women in the United States, who are likely unaware of their condition since they haven’t experienced any symptoms.
Obesity is a major risk factor for developing diabetes. Obesity rates among younger generations, including children, are substantially greater than in previous generations. As a result, it is on the rise, according to Michos. “The way many people live these days contributes to type 2 diabetes and the obesity pandemic.” We consume more calories, sugary beverages, and fast food, and we sit for much too long.”
When it comes to variables that contribute to type 2 diabetes, Hispanic, African-American, and Native American women must be extremely cautious. This is due to the fact that they are up to four times more likely to have the illness. Women who develop type 2 diabetes are also more likely to develop heart disease.
During pregnancy, you can also develop gestational diabetes, which is a type of diabetes. If you do, you’re 20 to 50% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. This means that women should be checked for the illness more frequently after giving birth.
While persons over the age of 65 account for the vast majority of strokes, a recent study discovered a 32% increase in strokes among women aged 18 to 34. Michos is concerned about the abrupt increase. “Although younger women are less likely to suffer strokes, when they do, they are more likely to be deadly.”
What’s causing the rise? High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and smoking are all risk factors for cardiovascular disease in millennial women. You are also at a higher risk than a guy your age if you are pregnant or use birth control pills, both of which might raise your risk of stroke somewhat. Autoimmune illnesses, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, which are more frequent in women, are also associated with a significantly increased risk of stroke.
Rectal and colon cancer
Another research recently raised the alarm about millennials becoming more susceptible to colon and rectal cancers. “The great majority of patients with colorectal cancer have age as the primary risk factor,” says Nilo Azad, M.D., associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “However, we’re now seeing a bit of an uptick in a younger demographic, and we’re not sure why.”
It is important to note that colorectal cancer (carcinoma of the colon or rectum) can strike young people. Consult your doctor if you observe blood in your stool or changes in your bowel habits. Because younger people are less prone to get colorectal cancer, there is frequently a delay in diagnosis. If your symptoms do not improve after receiving initial treatment for another problem, such as haemorrhoids, see your doctor about when you should be checked for cancer.
Also, if one of your parents, a brother or sister, or a sibling had colorectal cancer before the age of 50, Azad recommends being examined sooner. Begin screening 10 years before the age of your family member’s diagnosis.
shrinking of the brain
Brain shrinkage may seem frightening, but it is a typical component of the ageing process. Certain circumstances, however, have been related to a quicker loss in brain volume. According to Michos, if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, are overweight, or smoke, your brain may shrink faster than normal, affecting your mental function.
According to one study, adopting heart-healthy choices in your twenties may keep your brain from shrinking years later. The study also discovered more evidence that taking care of your health might help you keep your mind healthy. This study discovered that persons with risk factors for heart illness had greater amyloid deposits in their brains, which are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
“There’s no question that how you spend the first half of your life influences not just your present status, but also how healthy you’ll be in the second half,” Michos adds.
How can you lower your risk?
Juggling school, work, marriage, and motherhood may cause self-care to go to the bottom of your priority list. However, it is critical that you find time to do the activities that will have a significant influence on your health later in life.
“If you can reach middle age with low cholesterol, perfect blood pressure, an ideal weight, not smoking, and not diabetic, you’ll be less likely to ever get these illnesses,” Michos explains. “Whether or not you live free of chronic diseases after the age of 50 is entirely dependent on the activities you take right now.”
Make a better future for yourself by following the American Heart Association’s seven recommendations:
- Keep your blood pressure in check.
- Control your cholesterol.
- Reduce your blood sugar.
- Increase your daily activity.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Stay within a healthy weight.
- Quit smoking.
Michos also suggests keeping a food journal to count calories, using a pedometer to check your exercise level, and getting frequent medical exams. She reminds us that taking care of ourselves has a knock-on effect. “When you take measures to shop for and make healthier meals, as well as fit in regular exercise, you have a positive effect on your family and friends.”