While reaching 40 is a gargantuan milestone and a huge success, it’s only the beginning of the rest of your life. Forty years is plenty of time for us to get stuck in our ways.
For many, turning 40 means starting to evaluate what we want to improve as we get to the next stage of our life. Unfortunately, this age is also a milestone when the risk of many health conditions such as cancer increases, and as such makes the perfect time to consider your health and the ways in which you are able to improve it so that you could extend your time with family and friends.
Taking control of your health has never been as easy or accessible as now. There are many informational resources available online that can be reached through your phone, and the improvements in medical technology are unparalleled in regard to imaging your body and providing options for treatment. There are several things that we can do to reduce risk of developing certain diseases and illnesses as we grow older and this blog will be looking at a few of them below.
It was found that of people in England aged 16 and over only 63.3% were physically active, with around 20 million people failing to meet Government recommendations for physical activity. Additionally, women were found to be less likely to be active than men (BHF, 2017, GOV.UK, 2022).
The government has recommended to do 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity such as walking or 1.25 hours of vigorous activity such as running/jogging per week. Other activities include muscle strengthening exercises targeting legs, hips, back, abdomen, shoulders, and arms.
A mixture of these exercises is beneficial as it will keep your heart working and strong through cardio, and improve your mobility, muscle strength, bone strength and balance through the other exercises.
Exercising will also reduce stress on the heart as it helps to keep your weight in-check. Being overweight or obese increases the stress on your heart and as a result the risk for heart disease. This is because higher weight has been linked to high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. Regular exercise can help you keep your weight down and reduce the risks of developing health issues that may affect your heart health.
Unfortunately according to Baker (2022) 28% of adults in England are thought to be obese and a further 36% are considered overweight. Around 75% of people aged 40+ in England are overweight or obese.
Currently, more than 4.9 million people in the UK have diabetes. Lifestyle changes can be effective in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 50%, however, if nothing changes it is predicted that by 2030 5.5 million people will have diabetes (Diabetes UK, 2021). Research indicates that we still consume too much sugar and salt based on the recommended amounts. This may increase weight and cholesterol levels and the risk of heart diseases (UKHSA, 2020).
The choice of food you have means there is a huge variety of healthy foods you can incorporate into your diet. Especially with the explosion of vegetarian and vegan options. Most adults still don’t consume the recommended daily amount of fibre which has been noted to increase risk of colon cancer. Choose foods that are low in saturated fat and salt. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, fish, nuts, and legumes. Limit your sugar intake and sweetened drinks as well as alcohol, as people also tend to forget that it is extra unneeded calories that may increase your weight over time.
Know your numbers
Once you are in your 40s, understanding your numbers is very important. Keeping your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels down will help you keep track of your health. The two points mentioned above – eating healthy and exercise – help with reducing your blood pressure, control blood sugar levels and keeps your cholesterol level lower as well.
Blood pressure is the strength with which your blood is pushing against your arteries as it is transported around your body. High blood pressure puts a strain on your arteries and organs which in turn increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks and even brain tumours.
High cholesterol usually does not have any signs or symptoms however it can lead to an increased risk of coronary heart disease. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends that cholesterol screening should be performed every 1-2 years for men aged 45-65 and women aged 55-65. Those over 65 should check cholesterol levels annually (NHLBI, 2021).
Anyone can develop diabetes. Due to various factors, some people have a higher risk. A blood test can indicate if you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes even if you do not have it yet and do not exhibit any symptoms. The HbA1c test is the main blood test used to diagnose diabetes (Diabetes UK, 2021)a.
Be aware of family history
Your family history may mean that you have a higher risk of developing certain diseases if a family member has a disease or illness currently or has had the disease in the past. Unfortunately, the risks that come from family history are not something you can avoid. However, if you know your history well enough then you are able to create more opportunities for preventive measures and early detection where appropriate.
And, since risk unfortunately rises as you reach 40 years old, this is the perfect time to delve deeper into your family history.
Turning 40 means that you should start making proactive steps toward maintaining your health. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. A preventive full body scan is one of the best ways to detect even the most minute irregularities, months or even years before you start experiencing symptoms.
Government research has found that around 40% of premature mortality in the UK is caused by preventable cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Parliament.UK, 2017).
A preventive health assessment is a step in the right direction if you are starting to look after your health in your 40s. Thanks to Echelon Health’s preventive health screening you are now able to check your body for many diseases and illnesses A thorough health assessment is the best solution to the issues of late detection.
Our preventive health assessments are able to highlight any underlying health problems which then can be acted upon and offer best chance of treatment. Our health assessments also come with other benefits. Echelon Health offer an in-depth analysis of your individual health. Some preventive assessments focus more on the likelihood of risk of developing illnesses and disease which doesn’t necessarily mean that you will develop them. We use concrete data that we get using our technology.
We believe that only by using the correct test and scan for the correct modality you will be able to get the most comprehensive image of your health. At Echelon Health we utilise state of the art MRI, CT, and Ultrasound scanners. We also perform a full-body mole screen, ECG, and digital mammogram. All scans and images are reviewed by our expert team of up to seven radiologists who are specialists in their area.
Our flagship Platinum Assessment combines the talent of our doctors and radiologists with the most advanced, cutting-edge imaging technology to detect tumours as small as 2mm and assess for up to 92-95% of the causes of premature death among men and women. We believe this is the most advanced health assessment available worldwide today.
Within the Platinum Assessment we include many of the tests mentioned above:
- Medical Questionnaire
- Blood Tests
- CT Aorta
- CT Heart
- CT Coronary Angiogram
- CT Chest
- CT Pelvis
- CT Virtual Colonoscopy
- CT Bone Density
- CT Upright Skeleton
- MRI Brain
- MRI Cerebral Artery Angiogram
- MRI Carotid Artery Angiogram
- MRI Prostate
- Ultrasound Thyroid
- Ultrasound Testes/ Ovaries
- Digital Mammogram
- Full Body Mole Screen
- Final Consultation
If you would like to find out more, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Our team is always ready to answer any questions and help with finding the right path for you. We will be delighted to welcome you to Echelon Health.
BHF (2021). Facts and figures. Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/news-from-the-bhf/contact-the-press-office/facts-and-figures (Accessed 20/10/2021).
Gov.co.uk (2022). Physical activity. Available at: https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/health/diet-and-exercise/physical-activity/latest (accessed 13/09/2022).
Baker, C. (2022). Obesity Statistics. Available at: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn03336/ (Accessed 13/09/2022).
Diabetes UK (2021). Diabetes Statistics. Available at: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/professionals/position-statements-reports/statistics (Accessed 21/10/2021).
UKHSA (2020). New data reveals how our diets are changing over time. Available at: https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/12/21/new-data-reveals-how-our-diets-are-changing-over-time/ (Accessed 21/10/2021).
Diabetes UK (2021)a. Getting tested for diabetes. Available at: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/test-for-diabetes (Accessed 28/10/2021).
NHLBI (2021). Blood Cholesterol. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/blood-cholesterol (Accessed 28/10/2021).
Parliament.uk (2017). Chapter 6: Public health, prevention and patient responsibility. Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201617/ldselect/ldnhssus/151/15109.htm#footnote-099 (04/01/2022).