Women: Health tips for your 30s
Focused on Health - August 2013
by Adelina Espat
Life changes with every decade. And so does your body.
Just as you set personal milestones, you should also set health goals for every stage of life. Use these tips to help you look and feel your best in your 30s.
Lift some weights. Most women begin to lose muscle mass after age 30. Strength training can prevent muscle loss and build bone density to avoid osteoporosis. It also can increase the rate at which your body burns calories to keep you at a healthy weight.
And, maintaining a healthy weight can help you avoid diseases like cancer.
Take time to unwind. Juggling all the responsibilities of being a mom, wife, caretaker and employee often increases stress. Chronic stress affects almost every system in our bodies and wreaks havoc on their functioning, making it harder to fight off diseases like cancer.
Curb stress by doing breathing exercises and other relaxation-type activities.
Test for HPV at your Pap. Women over age 30 should get a human papillomavirus, or HPV, test along with their Pap test every five years. High-risk strains of HPV are present in more than 99% of cervical cancer cases.
This test doesn’t happen in your 20s because at this age, the immune system is more likely to clear the virus without treatment. And regular HPV testing may result in unnecessary interventions and follow-up care.
Good news: There’s no need for an extra doctor visit or exam. Your HPV test samples can be collected at the same time as your Pap test.
Snuff out the cigarette. More women die from lung cancer each year than breast cancer. The cause: smoking. Nearly 20% of women age 25 to 44 smoke.
Smoking raises your risk for heart disease and stroke, and affects your reproductive health. It also causes problems during pregnancy that can hurt both mother and baby – miscarriages, stillbirths and early delivery.
If you quit while you’re pregnant, don’t pick up the habit after the baby is born. Nicotine can be passed through breast milk and secondhand smoke can affect your child’s health.
Want to quit? You are not alone – 70% of women who smoke say they want to quit. Get help and support. If you’re still having trouble, cut back as much as possible and make your home smoke-free.
Get more health tips for all ages
“Practicing these healthy behaviors is important for all women, regardless of age,” says Therese Bevers, M.D., medical director of MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Center . “So take note of all of these tips — even the ones directed toward women older or younger than you.”
And talk to your doctor about other cancer screening exams, like a clinical breast exam. Exams also are available for those at increased risk for ovarian, endometrial, lung and skin cancer.
Your doctor can help you learn about your personal risk for cancer, and tell you what exams you should get and how often.