I’m a doctor, so listen up: these are the warning signs you and your mom shouldn’t dismiss.
We all worry about our mothers, even if it isn’t their job to worry about us.
How could we not?
Certain health conditions should be on your radar, whether your mom is active and social or beginning to struggle and slow down.
Here, Bupa’s clinical lead for women’s health and family physician Dr. Samantha Wild discusses them.
Menopause is a natural process that occurs in every woman, regardless of how we feel about it.
Dr. Wild says, “It primarily affects women aged 45 to 55,” though the average age in the UK is 51.
The common symptoms of menopause are hot flashes and night sweats, but these aren’t the only manifestations.
Dr. Wild says that “women don’t necessarily attribute” symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, low mood, and depression to menopause.
Tinnitus, bad body odor, and new allergies are a few of the other strange symptoms that may manifest.
When women experience these uncommon symptoms, they often seek medical attention from specialists before considering other possible causes.
Dr. Wild recommends keeping an eye out for your mother’s lack of confidence and low self-esteem, and if she ever brings up any of the more out-of-the-ordinary symptoms, you should encourage her to see a doctor.
You should both make it a priority to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating right, exercising frequently, getting between six and eight hours of sleep every night, and managing your stress levels.
Menopause symptoms are greatly mitigated by adopting a healthy lifestyle, according to Dr. Wild.
Also, look into HRT (hormone replacement therapy) because thanks to our Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign, the government has lowered the price of HRT prescriptions.
During menopause, bone density decreases, a condition known as osteoporosis.
Dr. Wild explains that low oestrogen levels are a risk factor for this disease in older women, but that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can mitigate this risk.
It’s something to think about if your mom is experiencing an increase in the frequency with which she fractures as she ages.
Eating calcium-rich foods (like broccoli and oranges), getting enough vitamin D, and maintaining regular physical activity can all aid in prevention.
To aid your mother, “Encourage strength or weight-bearing exercise and set a good example.
Dr. Wild recommends a group workout. Mother and I share a gym membership.
We don’t take the same courses, but having me there made her feel more comfortable enrolling because she knew she would be in a familiar environment.
Bone-strengthening exercises that the whole family can do together include swimming, jogging, or even light skipping.
If you want to skip rope without much hassle, download the Jump Rope Training app by Crossrope.
Breast and Gynaecological Cancers
You both need to be alert to these diseases.
One in seven women will develop breast cancer, and the risk increases after women reach menopause.
According to Dr. Wild, the condition is most common among women in their 60s.
But “all women should routinely check their breasts.”
Endometrial cancer develops in the uterine lining, and postmenopausal bleeding, or heavy periods or bleeding between periods before menopause, is the primary warning sign.
Dr. Wild notes that while cervical cancer is most common in women in their 30s, she still sees cases in women in their 40s and 50s.
Because of its indistinct symptoms, ovarian cancer is frequently overlooked despite being the sixth most common cancer among British women.
People may experience symptoms such as a rapid feeling of fullness after eating, abdominal pain, indigestion, or bloating, or pressure in the bladder. It’s often misdiagnosed as IBS, which causes a delay in treatment.
In order to help your mother, Dr. Wild advises, “Emphasize how important it is to attend screenings.” Please go to your screening as well.
Women between the ages of 50 and 71 are encouraged to get screened for breast cancer every three years, and those between the ages of 25 and 64 are invited for cervical screening every three to five years.
Share the CoppaFeel! video “How To Check Your Boobs” with your mom and make it a monthly ritual.
Bowel and Lung Cancer
Dame Deborah James, an uplifting columnist for The Sun, passed away at the age of 40 from bowel cancer.
The mother of two children devoted the last of her years to advocating for research into the illness.
Because of Dame Deborah, people are more aware of the warning signs of bowel cancer, such as changes in bowel habits, blood in the feces, and sudden weight loss.
Coughing up blood or persistent chest infections are warning signs of lung cancer, according to Dr. Wild.
“Remind your mom that the NHS offers free bowel cancer screening to people age 60 to 74.”
The Sun’s No Time 2 Lose campaign was successful, and the target number will be reduced to 50 by 2025.
Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be difficult to recognize because they are similar to those of other diseases.
“I see women forgetting their words in the middle of a sentence, they’re getting brain fog,” Dr. Wild says of menopausal symptoms.
Because of the high degree of similarity between the two conditions, we must ascertain whether or not any Alzheimer’s symptoms are present.
People with the disease often experience shifts in character.
They may experience “confusion,” “language and understanding difficulties,” and “a lack of awareness or denial that there is a problem.”
To better assist your mother, I recommend consulting the information provided by the Alzheimer’s Society (Alzheimers.org.uk).
Reassure your mother, but suggest she see her doctor if her memory loss is interfering with her daily life.
Dr. Wild says, “Alzheimer’s is not likely if you’re able telling me there’s a problem and you’re aware of what’s going on.” This is because people with Alzheimer’s are typically not so clued up and able to verbalize what’s going on.
It’s more common for women to die of heart disease than breast cancer.
Women also experience the same symptoms as men, including chest pain that radiates into the neck and arms, but the disease is more commonly perceived as a male condition.
You should dial 911 if you think your mother is having a heart attack.
How To Step In
It’s normal to want to drag your mom to the doctor if you’re worried about her, but you shouldn’t.
Dr. Wild advises against contacting her primary care physician (PCP) if the patient is competent to make decisions for him or herself.
Always offer to accompany her to appointments, but refrain from speaking on her behalf unless specifically requested to do so.
Instead, reassure her of your support.
“Tell her you’re worried and curious about her health.
“Then ask if there’s any way you can help her and suggest she talks to the GP,” Dr. Wild advises. Although you cannot force her to go, your encouragement may encourage her to call the clinic.
Questions To Ask Your Mum
Knowledge of one’s family medical background is crucial.
Dr Wild says to ask:
Has anyone in your family had breast cancer?
Though it’s important to inquire about other cancers as well, it’s possible that a genetic component plays a role in breast cancer.
When did you have your menopause?
Premature menopause is more likely to affect you if your mother experienced it at a younger age.
Is there hypertension or cholesterol in our family tree?
A higher risk of inheriting the disease is suggested when both parents have heart disease and are over the age of 60.