On Your Health

Check back to the INTEGRIS On Your Health blog for the latest health and wellness information for all Oklahomans, published three times a week.

25 Things Every Woman Over 50 Should Know

By the time you reach the half-century mark, you have seen and done a lot, but there are also plenty of things you might not know. Here are 25 excellent pieces of information, curated just for you.

  1. You need to have a colon cancer screening. The most common test is a colonoscopy, which isn’t that bad. "I had mine in the morning and went out to dinner that night. It was easy," says Kellye Elliott, who works at the INTEGRIS Cancer Institute.
  2. Unsweetened almond milk is much lower in calories, sugar and saturated fat yet has more calcium than whole cow’s milk. It’s also high in vitamin A and potassium. Read the package, though, because it varies. (We like Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla. One cup contains 30 calories and 45 percent of your daily calcium).
  3. Hot flashes, or flushes, can often be improved with medication. "If your symptoms are a nuisance, take something," says Dr. Wayne Houk, OB-GYN with INTEGRIS. "Just don’t waste your time with herbal supplements. They’re hogwash. Talk to your doctor about your options."
  4. Fact: You need a good moisturizer, a retinol and a serum. Dr. Scott Shadfar, a dual board certified otolaryngologist and facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon at INTEGRIS ENT and Facial Plastics and Aesthetic Institute of Oklahoma underscores the importance of those three simple steps in maintaining healthy, youthful skin.
  5. If you don’t move it, you’ll lose it. Now is not the time to give up on your workout routine. "One of the biggest reasons we exercise is to help us age more comfortably. Maintaining strength, range of motion and flexibility — such as being able to look back over your shoulder while driving — are important to remain comfortable and independent," says INTEGRIS Wellness & Senior Services Manager Cathy Patterson.
  6. As you age, your hips and shoulders may hurt while you sleep, which could make you feel exhausted, and possibly grouchy. A memory foam mattress topper is a game changer, and they can be inexpensive, starting around $50.
  7. Letting your hair go gray is a "thing." As in, a stylish thing. Sick of the cash outlay, roots and time spent coloring your hair? Here are some tips on growing out your gray as painlessly as possible.
  8. Yes, Virginia, there really are superfoods. A superfood is a food that contains large quantities of antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. Blueberries, sweet potatoes, eggs and lentils all typically make the list. Caveat: superfoods are great, but a varied and balanced diet is key. "No one food can provide you all of the essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you need," says INTEGRIS dietitian Meagan Ballard. "It is very important to eat a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods to obtain the health benefits our bodies need."
  9. You never "age out" of pelvic exams. We asked and Dr. Courtney Seacat answered. She says, "Please continue to get all your lady parts — including breast, vagina, uterus, and ovaries — examined on a regular basis."
  10. Do you leak when you laugh? Remedies are available. Our urogynecology department can talk with you about a variety of treatment options.
  11. There are simple, everyday things you can do to keep your mind sharp. Crossword puzzles, language classes or Sudoku are great ways to start a brain-fitness regimen.
  12. Breast self-exams are still important.
  13. Mammograms are always important. Schedule your Mammogram by telephone at 1-855-MY-MAMMO (1-855-696-2666).
  14. Yoga is a great workout. Learn the basic poses with an online video and see what you think. If you want to take it up a notch, give hot yoga a try.
  15. If you haven’t stopped smoking yet, now is the time. Smokers die an average of 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. You start to benefit the second you quit: after 20 minutes your blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal; a day without smoking and your lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris. Quit for 72 hours and your bronchial tubes will begin to relax and your energy levels will increase. It only gets better from there. Take this quiz to learn more.
  16. Your book club/knitting circle/card group is crucial to your well-being. A recent study out of the University of Michigan indicates that investing in close relationships yields psychological and physical health benefits such as lower incidence of chronic illnesses, higher levels of happiness and lower mortality.
  17. You might need some lubricant. Menopause can cause vaginal dryness and can make intercourse painful. Try applying a lubricant like K-Y or AstroGlide during sexual activity.
  18. It’s never too late to develop healthy habits. And it’s not too late to make a career change or go back to school, either. That is a fact.
  19. Weight gain is not inevitable.
  20. Flu shots are a great idea, and side effects are generally minimal. "There is a misconception that you can get influenza from the vaccine. This is just a myth! You definitely can't get influenza from the flu vaccine. When you receive the vaccine, your body mounts a response which can make you feel a little under the weather, such as a headache or feeling tired, but this is not influenza," says says Dr. Katie Shepherd, an OB-GYN at INTEGRIS Women’s Health Edmond.
  21. Sleep is one of your body’s (and your mind’s) best friends. Approximately 50 - 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders like sleep apnea, which can make you cranky, increase your risk for illness and stroke and cause or exacerbate depression and anxiety.
  22. Doing good things for others makes you feel better yourself.
  23. You may need to help make end-of-life decisions for a relative, spouse or yourself, sooner than you expected. INTEGRIS offers a full range of hospice and palliative care, including caregiver support, which is a crucial piece of the puzzle.
  24. Your mind, body and spirit are connected, and together they create wellness. It’s vital that we consider every part of a whole person, and that’s the mission of The INTEGRIS James L. Hall Jr. Center for Mind, Body and Spirit, which offers lectures, classes and more.
  25. Life isn’t always easy, but often life is incredibly beautiful.
  26. Bonus! INTEGRIS is here for you, every day and at every stage of your life.

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