Habits That Hurt Women Over 40

serious black womanInterestingly, experts agree that there are a set number of behaviors that are more common in women over 40 that are increasing their risks of certain diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes.

So what are some of the top diseases that you might be able to avoid with simple behavior changes?

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1. Unprotected Sex

Yes, you’d be surprised about how many women engage in more risky sexual behavior once they get older. Although young adult women are most vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), rates are rising in their mothers’ generation as midlife women reenter the dating scene after divorce or widowhood. In fact, the most common STD, trichomoniasis, is more common in women in their 40s and 50s than in younger women, a 2011 Johns Hopkins study found. Untreated, trichomoniasis can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease. Rates of syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes are up in 45-plussers, too.

Between 6 and 10 percent of HIV infections are in women over age 50, according to estimates, and the number rises to 28 percent of HIV cases in women over age 65. Normal changes due to aging, such as a thinning of vaginal walls and less lubrication, raise the risk of HIV infection, according to the Center for Age Prevention Studies.