Women of all ages have special healthcare needs, says women’s health expert, retired compounding pharmacist, and author Marla Ahlgrimm. In the following interview excerpt, Ahlgrimm offers advice to women in their 40s on how to take the first steps toward living a healthier lifestyle beyond the reproductive years.
Q: Women usually go through menopause in their 40s, so is birth control still necessary?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Women can still get pregnant even during perimenopause since the ovulatory cycle may continue, even if it is not regular. Birth control is recommended for those who do not wish to expand their families during this time.
Q: What are some ways to maintain a healthy weight?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Women’s hormones begin to shift in their 40s, and gaining weight becomes much easier. Physical activity is paramount to balancing the scales. Women should aim for a BMI of approximately 19 to 25.
Q: Are ‘well women’ visits still needed at this point?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Absolutely, although most women can do these very three years. This screenings is just for women and focuses on sexual and reproductive health concerns, such as cervical cancer, STDs, and breast issues. Women will also be asked a series of questions about general health, diet, sleep, and physical activity levels.
Q: Should women continue to get a flu shot every year?
Marla Ahlgrimm: A flu shot is a must every year since the virus that causes the flu mutates each season. A flu vaccine is not a guarantee that a woman will not get the flu, but is a safe and effective layer of protection against it. Women with heart disease and respiratory issues such as COPD should also ask their doctor about receiving the pneumonia vaccine.