There’s an old saying that goes “life begins at 40,” and although there are many people in their twenties and thirties who would scoff at that idea, it’s plenty accurate.
As you enter your fifth decade, you’re more than ever at ease with yourself, understand the world around you, and are crucially still more than young enough to enjoy it.
However, just like the literal beginning of your life, this second beginning will be a lot more productive if you forge a beneficial relationship with your primary care physician.
Why your 40s are so important from a healthcare point of view
Although your 40s offer a lot of new opportunities – and in fact, partly because they do – you will want to ensure that you enter this time with a clean bill of health.
It is recommended that individuals, male and female, have a full health check once they’ve celebrated their 40th birthday. This should be all-encompassing, taking in assessments of BMI, blood pressure and other key numbers.
You should also cover questions of diet, drinking, smoking and anything else recommended by your primary care physician, along with a review of any medicine you may be regularly taking.
Which issues do you need to address specifically?
There are certain specific health checks that become vital when you’re in your 40s. For men, a prostate check should be arranged with your general practitioner along with a conversation about prostate health.
For women, mammograms become all the more important. For anyone in their 40s, it is in this decade that you start to enter risk groups for certain types of cancer, and your primary medical provider can give you referrals for these vital checks, as well as advising you on how best to prepare for them.
As you approach your mid-40s, you’ll also need to arrange a colonoscopy, which will require you to furnish your specialist with a lot of key information about you. Your doctor will advise you on this.
What your primary care physician can tell you about your needs
While we’re used to talking about childhood and adolescence as times of great change, the truth is that throughout your life, your body is experiencing changes. Specifically, in your 40s, these changes can come as a surprise.
Some of us, as we pass into our 40s, will fall into risk groups for different conditions, and your primary care physician can advise you on what your groups might be and how to lower your risks. If you are in an at-risk group for heart problems, they may advise a dietary change, for example, or even a regime of preventative aspirin.
How often should you see your primary care physician in your 40s?
Even if you generally stay healthy, it is recommended to visit your PCP quarterly. Additionally, it is important to be aware of communications you get from your PCP for tests and check-ups. You should also make time to attend for an appointment if you have any nagging symptoms that don’t go away. Nobody will know your medical profile better than your regular doctor, and their advice, along with the checks they do, will help you stay healthy throughout what can be the best decade of your life.