Did you know that your age can heighten the risk to certain diseases? Here’s why. Human bodies usually stop growing at some point and degeneration begins. Lifestyle habits also have effects and some may cause immunity issues over time. By the time you reach your 40s, you will be more vulnerable to some diseases than before. Here are a few health problems that are more likely to show up when you’re in your 40s.
1. Overactive Bladder
Your bladder can change as you get older, said urologist and medical director of Urology Cancer Specialists in Los Angeles. “As we age, the nerves that help the bladder might not work as well,” and bladder muscles can thicken with age, reducing its capacity, Dr. said. An overactive bladder and incontinence have many solutions: Kegel exercises can help, as can vaginal estrogen cream and other medications, said Doctor.
Tendonitis occurs when there’s pain, swelling, or joint grinding in a tendon when you move it. This condition is more likely to occur when a tendon has been overused, which is why it’s mostly associated with adults over 40. Athletes or active people are more likely to get diagnosed with tendonitis, especially if they focus on one sport and one movement over several years. Common types you may be familiar with are jumper’s knee, trigger finger, or tennis elbow.
3. High blood pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to serious medical events, like a heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, or stroke. According to the researchers, you have high blood pressure when your systolic reading is 140 or higher or your diastolic reading is 90 or higher. However, some doctors may attest that lower readings are considered hypertension as well. While an unhealthy lifestyle or added stress can contribute to high blood pressure, a simple increase in age can also tick up your likelihood of developing this condition. In fact, it’s common for older adults to have a higher systolic reading and lower diastolic reading, which is concerning.
4. Cardiovascular Diseases
Other than genes, the lifestyle you led in your 20s and 30s could increase your risk of heart-related complications. The effects of high cholesterol levels from unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise mostly show up at this age. The dangers of smoking may also start revealing themselves at this age, especially if you were a heavy smoker. One of the most common is plaque build-up in your arteries which is known to trigger a heart attack or failure. Consider going for more cardiac check-ups at this age so that such problems can be addressed while they are still in their early stages.
5. High Cholesterol
Living with high cholesterol increases your chances of heart disease and other serious medical conditions. If you develop bad habits or you’re simply the unlucky culprit of bad genetics, as you age, it’s more likely you’ll suffer from high cholesterol. That’s concerning because the longer you have high cholesterol, the more likely you are to develop a chronic or serious medical condition. According to doctors, “Even slightly high cholesterol levels in otherwise healthy adults between the ages of 35 and 55 can have long-term impacts on their heart health, with every decade of high cholesterol increasing their chances of heart disease by 39%.”
6. Erectile Dysfunction
“Many men in their 40s may start noticing a drop off in their ability to get and maintain an erection,” said Dr. Ramin. Often this is due to other medical conditions, such as obesity, hypertension, or metabolic syndrome, which can all result in reduced blood flow to the penis. While medications (you’ve probably heard of Viagra and Cialis) are available to help, this is a challenging situation for your partner—and you. One strategy is to broaden your definition of intimacy: Channel younger years and focus on making out instead of penetrative intercourse. This takes the pressure off your partner and can lead to a physically and emotionally satisfying experience. Sex toys can also have a similar positive result.
7. Vision Problem
A deterioration of your vision, called macular degeneration, is more common when you turn 40. According to the researchers, about 80% of macular degeneration sufferers have dry macular degeneration. This means that parts of the macula grow thinner and tiny clumps of protein begin to develop, causing you to slowly lose your central vision. It can be harder to see fine details or read. Age and genetics increase your chances of developing macular degeneration. You’re also more likely to develop this condition if you have hypertension, smoke cigarettes, are overweight, have heart disease, or have high cholesterol.
8. Skin Cancer
“Skin cancer is one of the major skin concerns I see with age,” said dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon. Both basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma are caused by your cumulative sun exposure, and melanoma is caused by sun exposure along with genetics, said Dr. Henry. Your best course of action? Check your moles changes and keep an eye out for new ones. “Our concern about new moles is increased after the age of 40 as there is a higher risk for melanoma,” Dr. Henry said. And, as you probably know already, be a devoted, diligent user of sunscreen. “Sunscreen is the best prevention,” Dr. Henry said.