Women's Health Through the Decades: Preventative Healthcare in y - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Women's Health Through the Decades: Preventative Healthcare in your 50s

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This week we're talking about women's health through the decades, talking to doctors and women of all ages about common health issues and preventative measures a woman can take to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

We began the series talking about starting a healthy lifestyle in your 20s, how to deal with the changes of pregnancy and motherhood in your 30s, the stress of a working mom in her 40s and today we continue with the preventative and proactive health concerns that come in your 50s.

After three battles with breast cancer, Cheryl Prunty didn't think she would get to enjoy her fifties.

"When I was so sick in 2008, I just though well, the one thing I'm never going to get to do is be a grandma," said Prunty.

When a woman turns 50, cancer screenings become a big topic.

"We are not able to screen all cancers, but for the ones we can screen, people need to be aware and talk to their doctors about those types of screening," said Dr. Addison Tolentino, an Oncologist with Avera Medical Group Oncology and Hematology. 

Women should start regular colonoscopies, mammogram's and lung cancer screenings when they turn 50. 

"I really promote wellness with my friends, get in there and get your mammogram's, be proactive about your health….a lot of them are fearful of those screenings and I think fear is really kills us because we wait too long but if we catch it early we can do something about it," said Prunty. 

"When cancer is detected earlier, intervention can be applied earlier," said Dr. Tolentino. 

Another big topic in the fifties is menopausal symptoms.

"At 50 what they're going to start noticing is really the changes in their body that have occurred from the decrease in estrogen," said Dr. Janel Powell with Avera Medical Group Women's Internal Medicine.

Things like weight gain, hot flashes, urinary issues and changes in your hair and skin are very normal at this age.

"Just talking to other women and knowing that you're not alone in this, this is what happens, it's not going to last forever and pretty soon it will move on and we'll be done with that stage too," said Prunty.

Lower estrogen levels can also affect bone strength.

"This is when we recommend that people start having their bone density scan," said Dr. Powell.

It might sound like a lot of tests, but at this stage, its something most women can fit into their schedules.

"I think everyone in their 50s kind of has that, the kids are out of the house usually, you're becoming a grandparent  and you have a little more time for you and a little more money too I think to do the things you want to do," said Prunty.

For Prunty, that means spending as much time as possible with her grandkids.

"I always say to people, if you don't have any grandchildren you should get some, because it's just the best," said Prunty.

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