The Colorado Woman
Colorado has the most confident, intelligent, thoughtful, inspirıng, dedicated, joyful, influential, resilient, adventurous, independent, gutsy, innovative, groundbreaking women in America. Meet them.
Take care of it with this at-a-glance guide to health issues women should be aware of in every decade.
20s Preventive care in all departments should be your number one priority in your 20s. That means protecting yourself against STDS with condoms, naturally, but also an HPV vaccine, which protects against the most common strains that cause cervical cancer. Wear sunscreen. And start getting annual skin cancer checks. Also, establish a relationship with a primary-care physician, even if you never get sick. And we don’t have to remind you that you should be getting annual gynecologic exams, right? Right?
30s As opposed to 20 years ago, the thirties are now a prime decade for child-bearing—something you should begin speaking with your gynecologist about if you haven’t had your first child by the time you turn 35. Also: Keep up with the preventive maintenance you began in your 20s, and start getting baseline screenings for things like cholesterol, blood pressure, and make sure you’re doing at-home breast exams. Make fitness a priority; now is the time when you should be setting up fitness practices for later in life. Besides, you can use the break. Women tend to be at their busiest in their 30s, and fitness and attention to mental health often take a back seat to careers and family.
40s Here’s where women really start to struggle with their weight. But if you’ve established a regular fitness routine in your 30s, keeping those extra pounds at bay should be easier. You should also start getting regular mammograms around 40. Mental health issues also become a bigger factor in your 40s, when your kids are getting older, your job might be changing a bit, and your marriage isn’t new anymore. Depression rates are higher for women in this decade than in previous ones.
50s Get a colonoscopy. Women have the same risk of colon cancer as men do, so get the pipes checked, ladies. Maybe it’ll take your mind of the big M, menopause, which typically hits around this time and comes with varying doses of hot flashes and mood swings, among other symptoms. Now’s when doctors also see a bump in rates of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers, so make sure you’re still seeing a gynecologist regularly.
60+ High blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis all come into play in later decades, and are largely related to the diet and exercise practices you established in your 20s and 30s. Now’s also the time to focus on mental fitness; flex your gray matter with puzzles, reading, and conversation. If you have any concerns about memory loss, talk about them with your doctor. This is the time when early signs of dementia begin showing up. Also, start talking about end-of-life care. It’s not comfortable, but it is inevitable; make sure your family understands your desires.
Our medical panel: Amy Espinosa, DO, hospitalist and site director at Good Samaritan with midtown Inpatient Medicine; Jaime Arruda, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
According to the State of Women in America, a 50-state analysis of how women are faring in our nation published by the Center for American Progress in September 2013, Colorado got a high score when it comes to women’s health. Based on 14 key measures—like policies to defund Planned Parenthood, percentages of nonelderly women uninsured, Medicaid expansion policies, maternal mortality rates, and infant mortality rates—the state ranked 10th.