(BLACK PR WIRE) -- When discussing women’s health issues within the African American community, the emphasis is often on the needs of young women. Issues facing African American women beyond their childbearing years don’t get as much attention, probably symptomatic of the value our society places on youth. However, as Baby Boomer women enter their fifties and sixties, the concerns of menopausal women require greater prominence in health care education. Rather than being embarrassed by the discussion, women are finding they can enjoy vibrant lives for decades after the “change of life.”
People associate menopause primarily with its major symptom, the ceasing of menstrual cycles and the consequent end of a woman’s fertility. In reality, menopause brings changes to a woman beyond her reproductive system. It can affect her emotional state, cardiovascular system, skeleton and skin. These changes normally occur between 45 to 55 years of age, though pre-menopausal women should not wait until then to take action. Exercises, healthy eating habits, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking and getting regular medical screenings are the best preparations for this future stage in life.
Menopausal women need to pay attention to the risks of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and cancer, particularly cancer of the breasts, uterus, ovaries and colon. They should get breast, colon, and gynecological examinations as recommended by their physicians. For osteoporosis, bone loss can be detected by special bone density testing and by monitoring height during physicals. The age and frequency that a woman needs these tests will depend on her personal history and other risk factors. Women should also have their cholesterol levels and blood pressure assessed at these physicals to keep their cardiovascular system healthy.
By getting educated, communicating with health care providers and leading a proactive lifestyle, a woman can enter this phase of life knowing she is not merely getting older, but getting better.