August 29, 2023
If you belong to Generation X, you’re somewhere between the ages of 42 and 58 years old. Like all generations, there are particular health challenges that Gen Xers should be aware of as they grow older. Here are some of those challenges and ways to deal with them.
The early 40s is when even people with great vision start experiencing eye problems. One of the most common conditions is presbyopia. This is a change in your eyes’ ability to focus that decreases your ability to see close objects clearly. Presbyopia can be dealt with by wearing glasses, using contact lenses, or undergoing laser eye surgery.
Other common vision problems include:
• Needing more light to see
• Experiencing glare more often
• Having trouble differentiating between certain shades of color
• Dry eyes
Gen Xers can also experience more severe vision problems, such as frequent changes with their vision or tunnel vision. These could be the result of issues such as glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration. They also could be a sign of diabetes or high blood pressure.
The American Optometry Association recommends people from ages 40 through 64 get their eyes examined at least every two years if they have no problems, and annually, or as instructed by a doctor, if they’re experiencing difficulties. Neglecting vision care can result in negative mental health outcomes for older adults. Poor vision can affect relationships, contribute to mental decline, and make people feel isolated from the world around them.
The average age for menopause in the United States is 51 or 52, so many Gen Xers are experiencing symptoms associated with it, including mood swings, decreased sex drive, weight gain, and other changes in body shape.
Menopause increases the risk of osteoporosis, so it’s important to keep this in mind and do what you can to maintain good bone health. A well-balanced diet that contains enough calcium, making physical activity a priority, avoiding tobacco, and minimizing alcohol use can all help protect your bones.
Other common conditions that can pop up for the first time in your early 50s include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, and diabetes. That makes getting an annual physical exam, as well as taking care of yourself, more important than ever. Some of the best ways to prevent these conditions involve the same common-sense measures you should practice at all stages of your life. This includes:
• Eating well
• Getting enough sleep and exercise
• Maintaining a healthy weight
• Not smoking or excessively drinking
• Minimizing stress
Your early 40s is also a good time to consider the regular cancer screenings. Here are some of the most recommended screenings:
The average person has experienced nearly three quarters of their lifetime exposure to the sun by the time they turn 41. That makes annual dermatologist visits to check for skin cancers a good idea for all Gen Xers.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that people from 45 to 75 be screened annually for colorectal cancer. Anyone younger than that should consider getting screened if they’ve developed polyps or have such conditions as inflammatory bowel disease, or if they have a family history of polyps or colorectal cancer.
The task force also recommends that women 50 to 74 with an average risk for breast cancer get a mammogram every two years. Women 40 to 49 should talk to their doctor about whether beginning that regimen earlier makes sense for them.
Male gen Xers should consider getting screened for prostate cancer.
Maintaining your health as you grow older may not be as easy as it once was. But if you take care of yourself, know what health problems you could face, and take steps to both check for them and keep them in check, your pre-golden years can be pretty golden, too!