It is projected that by the year 2050, 20.7 percent of the population will be comprised of individuals over the age of 65, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, Resident Population Projections by Sex and Age: 2005 to 2050. As such, there has been much health hype lately, particularly for the senior woman. But paying attention to a healthy lifestyle is something that should begin early on in a woman's life and be customized to her needs as she ages.

30s

Women are remaining fertile longer than in past years. This makes the 30s one of the prime times for women to have children, which begins at age 25 and continues through age 34, according the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Therefore, much of the attention you'll place on health may revolve around your decision to conceive. If you're planning on having a child soon, it is a good idea to speak to your OB/GYN about a prescription for folic acid. This supplement has been shown to reduce the risk of some birth defects and therefore is something essential for mothers-to-be.

If you've been lax on visiting the dentist, get back into a routine with checkups and cleanings. Tooth and gum health can actually affect other areas of the body. In fact, advanced gum disease has been linked to stroke in some people. By keeping your mouth healthy, you'll be keeping your entire body healthy as well.

40s

This transitional time of life can be a roller coaster of emotions. You're moving out of your child-bearing years and toward menopause. This is the time when you're officially "aging." You're no longer building bone mass; in fact, you could be slowly losing it. Your metabolism may have also started to slow down, resulting in a softening of body shape.

Visiting the doctor may become more commonplace in this decade. You should begin annual fecal occult tests to check for blood in your stool - an indication of possible colon cancer. You should also begin annual mammograms. Diabetes is a disease that can occur with age, so if you have any risk factors for it, such as a hereditary predisposition, ask your doctor if you can be tested. Since bone density can deteriorate as you age, you may also want to undergo a bone-density test before you start menopause, to use a baseline for measuring future bone loss.

Menopause may have already started or be right around the corner. Menopause is basically like puberty in reverse - you may feel similar symptoms, such as irritability, irregular periods, mood swings and sleep disturbances. Exercise, supplements and talking with a healthcare provider can make this relatively short time in your life more manageable.

50s

Many people consider this decade "the prime of life" because you're free of menstruation (for most), free of your children (for most) and are able to enjoy life.

At this stage in the game, skin health and care should be of top concern. Previous sun-tanning and misinformation from your youth may have resulted in age spots, wrinkling and dried-out skin. While you may not be able to reverse all effects, you can be smart about using sunblock, moisturizer and mild soaps on your delicate skin. Also, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated from the inside. You should routinely check for any moles or age spots that seem to transform in color or shape. These could be a sign of melanoma - an all-too-common form of skin cancer.

Continue with all routine exams and tests. If you've been getting mammograms every two years, you may want to make it an annual occurrence from here on in. If you've already experienced menopause, you probably don't need a Pap every year: maybe once every two to three years.

You should also check with your doctor about any shots that you may need. Women typically need a tetanus booster every 10 years. It may also be a good time to start an annual flu shot regimen.

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