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Common midlife health signs you shouldn't ignore, from memory loss to appetite changes

Yahoo! Style UK logo Yahoo! Style UK 21/03/2019 Francesca Specter
Getty © Getty Getty We all know things start to change come middle-age.

For some, reaching your forties and fifties might come with greater confidence and a higher libido. Other age-related changes are less positive, like a spare tyre around your middle, or a line between your eyes you had never noticed before.

However, sometimes what is assumed to be a sign of ageing might actually indicate an underlying health condition, explains GP and aesthetic doctor Dr Jane Leonard. “Many of the symptoms can be expected as part of the natural ageing process but can also be symptoms of certain conditions,” she told Yahoo UK.

Certain symptoms, such as sudden memory changes or problems emptying your bladder, should always be investigated rather than dismissed, explained Leonard.

“If you have any of these, whether they are in isolation or linked to anything else, it is not your job to kind of put it down to ageing. It is important to look in to them and investigate thoroughly before making that conclusion for yourself.

Midlife health signs to look out for

Needing to pass urine at night

Hand with drinking glass filling water from kitchen faucet, home and lifestyle concept © Getty Hand with drinking glass filling water from kitchen faucet, home and lifestyle concept Waking up and rushing to pee during the night? For some, this is a normal as you get older. “Sometimes the detruser muscle (so the muscle in your bladder wall) can become more sensitive and the capacity to hold urine can be less so you may find yourself getting up at night to pass urine,” explains Leonard.

However, it can also point to a urine infection or, in men, prostate issues. If you are going to the toilet more often or feeling more urgency to go, experiencing pain passing urine, or passing blood in your urine, you should be seen by your GP. An inability to complete empty your bladder should also be cause for concern, Leonard adds.

Memory changes

As much as we joke about having “senior moments” in middle age, it is important to differentiate between a reduced short term memory – which is a normal sign of ageing and what’s known as “acute confusion”.

In the latter instance – where you experience a very sudden change in your memory – you should seek help from a doctor.

“If it is a more chronic issue of losing memory or you are becoming forgettable, simple blood tests can be done via your GP to investigate causes and can be referred to the memory clinic which can be helpful,” advises Leonard.

Gallery: Simple ways to keep your brain young and healthy [StarsInsider]

Appetite changes

Your appetite may well change as you age, but if this is linked to unintentional weight loss, it should be investigated – as it can mean anything from gastrointestinal problems all the way to problems with your mood, such as anxiety and depression.

Weight loss

Female bare feet with weight scale in the bathroom © Getty Female bare feet with weight scale in the bathroom As we know, weight can fluctuate with age – with some gaining pounds due to underlying health conditions such as arthritis, which limit exercise. However, if you have lost a large amount of weight without changing what you eat, this could be a sign of a more serious problem, including certain cancers – so seek expert help. 

“Anyone who is losing weight unintentionally is concerning and something to take into consideration and be checked,” adds Leonard.

Sleep

We’ve all heard the myth that you need less sleep as you get older, but Leonard says this is not necessarily true of everyone: “Some people sleep less, other people need more sleep depending on their personal situations.”

However, if you are plagued by chronic insomnia, this should be a cause for concern, says Leonard. “Mental health problems such as depression and anxiety often manifest as changes in sleep,” she explains. “See your doctor for further investigation.”

Gallery: 40 Nutrition Experts Told Us The Foods You Should Be Eating Every Day [Eat This, Not That!]


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