Awareness regarding emergency healthcare among women over 40 crucial
Amina Begum (not the real name), 42, had lots of pimples on her face throughout her adolescence. But the problem resurfaced two years ago and it wasn't going away by any means. She took medicines, used different ointments as per doctor's advice. Finally her doctor advised to take some tests for vitamin D deficiency.
"After the tests, the doctor told me that the pimples were there for the deficiency of vitamin D and it was not going away because of that. I learned the hard way that it's important for women over 40 to go through vitamin D deficiency tests as it can create many health problems," Amina said.
Health experts said different health problems start to surface generally after 40 and people should take these very seriously. They should make the necessary checkups and treat these problems as early as possible, they added.
"Men, women all should become more aware about their health after 40. They should go through some necessary checkups and take advice of medicine doctors. There are some common checkups, which are a must for people of this age. These are diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, kidney function, liver function, chest x-ray, ECG, and vitamin D," Associate Prof Dr Nazmul Ahsan of Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital said.
He further said the women should take hormone tests as in many cases their menstruation stops at this age, along with many other problems, adding, they also should have some tests regarding low bone mass and iron deficiency.
When asked about what rules the women should follow, what type of foods they should have at this age, Dr Nazmul Ahsan said if they have diabetes or blood sugar, they should eat less sugar and carbohydrate type of foods, if they have high blood pressure and heart problem, they should avoid fatty foods and take foods with less salt.
"They must eat fruits and vegetables daily. As their menstruation stops, they can suffer from calcium and iron deficiency. They should take milk or milk-made food, eggs, small fishes and iron enriched foods. They should walk at least for 30 minutes daily so they sweat. Apart from all these, they should consult a gynaecologist and do some tests," he added.
Former professor of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics Dr Farhana Dewan said a woman must become more aware about her ovary, uterus and breast.
"The risk of uterus cancer and breast cancer goes up at this age. These types of cancer are growing in our country. There are chances of complete cure if the disease is detected at an early stage. So we should consult a doctor on a regular interval and do these tests. There is a matter of great hope that the government has arranged these tests for women at a very low cost at different hospitals and health centres across the country," Dr Farhana, who is currently working at Dhaka Central Hospital, added.
Dr Sadia Afrin Tani of DMCH said all the public hospitals in the country including Dhaka Medical College Hospital have facilities for breast screening and uterus cancer tests daily at low cost.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Hospital's Department of Gynaecological Oncology chairman Dr Ashrafunnesa said they have breast screening and Pap smear test, a procedure to test for cervical cancer, facilities at free of cost at their hospital. Women are also taught about how to screen their breast for any sign of cancer by themselves in their homes, she said.
Dr Ashrafunnesa, who is also the project director of National Centre for Cervical and Breast Cancer Screening, further said they have 464 centres across the country, of which 271 are situated at upazila health complexes. These centres also do these tests free of cost.
Health experts said at this age, men and women both can face physical and mental problems, which can be avoided by regular medical checkups. They called for building more awareness on these and do the necessary tests on time to lead a healthy and happy life. -BSS