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What Health Complications Should Elderly Women Get Checked For?

By Nick Paciello, 9:00 am on

Today is National Women’s Checkup Day, and Henderson 24-hour care experts want to remind family caregivers about some of the health concerns the elderly females in their lives could be at risk for. Here is a list of some serious complications your loved one should be getting screened for on a regular basis.

Osteoporosis

After menopause, a woman’s bone density can decrease due to loss of estrogen. This can lead to osteoporosis, which is responsible for approximately 70 percent of hip fractures in women over 65. A baseline bone density scan can detect osteoporosis and is recommended at age 65 and thereafter as determined by a physician. If found early, the doctor may recommend your loved one take supplements and medication to help strengthen her bones and slow the reduction in bone density.

High Blood Pressure

The risk for high blood pressure greatly increases after menopause. It affects 70 percent of women in their 60s and 70s and nearly 80 percent of women over 75. The April 2013 issue of Harvard Women’s Health Watch noted high blood pressure was a “silent killer” for women because many elderly women do not know their blood pressure numbers. Though high blood pressure rarely has symptoms, it can increase the risk of stroke and lead to kidney damage. It is vitally important for your loved one to have her blood pressure checked at least once a year. If she is already taking blood pressure medicine, she should review this with her doctor each year. 

Diabetes

High blood pressure is a risk factor for diabetes. If your loved one has high blood pressure or takes blood pressure medication, she should be screened for diabetes at regular checkups. The risk of diabetes increases with age, and approximately 25 percent of people over 65 have been diagnosed as diabetic. Diabetes can cause complications like kidney failure, vision loss, and numbness in the hands and feet. This condition affects women differently than men. Women with the disease have an increased risk of heart disease, blindness, and depression, and they are also less likely to survive a heart attack than diabetic men.

Colon Cancer

The risk of colon cancer increases with age. Approximately 90 percent of people diagnosed with colon cancer are over age 50. Some studies have indicated inflammatory bowel disease, a risk factor for colon cancer, is more common in women than men. Research has also shown women tend to develop colon cancer at an older age than men do. It is recommended for senior women to have a colonoscopy once every 10 years beginning at age 50. This test is particularly important for women because their cancers often develop higher in the colon than men’s cancers do. Colonoscopies are the most appropriate method for detecting cancers in this area because they cannot be seen using other methods. If your loved one is unable to undergo a colonoscopy, fecal occult blood tests and sigmoidoscopies are alternative tests she can discuss with her doctor. Fecal occult blood tests can be done yearly. Whichever method your loved one chooses, she should continue colon cancer screening through age 75 as recommended by the doctor.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer risk increases with age and is especially common after menopause. It is important for senior women to have a mammogram every 2 years from the ages of 50-74. After age 74, your loved one can decide with the doctor if she would like to continue breast cancer screening.

To learn more about the health concerns of senior women and how to reduce your loved one’s risk for various conditions, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available 24/7 to provide transportation to the doctor’s office, offer timely medication reminders, and assist with many other tasks that can help your loved one remain healthy. For more information on senior care Henderson families can trust and rely on, call (702) 527-7723 today.