Wellness is important. But when we enter our 30s, the buzz word takes on a new meaning, says health expert and fitness professional Evie Fatz. According to Fatz, our 30s are when we need to begin prioritizing our wellbeing.
While there are plenty of natural changes that occur in our bodies as we start to age — think wrinkles, slower metabolism and so on — there are some conditions that could be problematic or worrisome. And without giving them attention, they could turn into bigger issues down the road.
“At this stage of life, it is critical you do not mask the cause because the problem will only magnify in your 40s and 50s,” Fitz warns.
Here, symptoms you should never, ever ignore:
Holistic healer and author Joan Varini says poor digestion doesn’t just limit your nutritional absorption and make food consumption stressful — but it could be a clear indicator that something is off. You could be experiencing an allergic reaction to certain foods, your enzymes could be imbalanced, or in worst-case scenarios, you could have a growth developing in your stomach or colon.
The first step to take, according to Varini, is to change your diet. This could be incorporating more cooked foods (these are easier to digest than raw), implementing probiotics and cutting out common culprits of digestive issues, like dairy and gluten. (Note, if you want to be tested for a gluten allergy, see a doctor before eliminating it from your diet.)
“Balancing our gut is not a one size fits all kind of endeavor, and we should try different physical and mental approaches to finding a healthy, happier belly brain,” she explains. If you don’t see an improvement in a few months, seek the advice fo a medical professional.
Everyone is forgetful, but if memory lapses are becoming more and more common, health coach and author Jerry Snider says it could be cause to worry. How come? Frequent forgetting for extended periods of time could point to an early stage of dementia.
“The longer you are exposed to the causes of these memory lapses, the more long term damage is being done to your brain,” he continues. “It’s unfortunate that we often think of dementia as a ‘sudden’ disease, meaning that all of a sudden he couldn’t remember who I was. The truth of the matter is it takes years of damage to the brain before the symptoms arise.” Doctors can help improve your condition by changing your diet, helping you sleep better and provide mental exercises to strengthen your memory.
Low sex drive or dysfunction
Board-certified OB-GYN, Jaime Seeman, M.D. says most women should still have a sex drive in their 30s.. Generally speaking, Seeman says people don’t lose their appetite for intimacy or experience sexual dysfunction until their mid-40s, when our reproductive hormones start to decline. So, there are a few factors that could be at play, including poor nutrition, stress or drug-nutrient interactions, or even certain birth controls or antidepressants, according to Seeman.
In addition to speaking to your partner about how you are feeling, a doctor can also help you manage your symptoms effectively, either through lifestyle changes or medication.
Negative coping mechanisms
If you constantly find yourself struggling with smart coping mechanisms and feeling depressed, Varini says you may need to give some attention to your mental health. After all, not all debilitating symptoms are physical. This is especially true if you are abusing drugs, alcohol or other vices.
“We all have our ways of destressing, but if your unhealthy coping mechanisms have become habits, you are now on the road to not only create potential health problems, but you are also ignoring the emotional and/or mental issues that are restricting you from living a more fulfilling life,” she explains.
To get started, you must accept that you are in a bad place. And from there, there are many avenues to take. Whether you seek therapy, confide in a trusted friend or seek resources on your own, remember your mood, mind and headspace deserve just as much TLC as other parts of your wellbeing.
There is a difference between feeling wiped after a long trip abroad or a week of late nights — and always feeling like you are running on empty. “If you’re feeling more than just generally fatigued and feel like you’re completely zapped of energy, it is not something to ignore; there can be several health concerns behind the change,” says medical professional Seema Sarin, M.D.. Not only is chronic exhaustion a potential sign of type 2 diabetes, but it could also indicate thyroid problems, anemia, heart disease, fibromyalgia and other diseases. If you can’t seem to muster up the energy to do anything, it is time to discuss with a doctor who can access the severity and make a diagnosis.
Tooth or gum pain or bleeding
Since many people have dental work in their teenage years or their 20s, fillings, crowns and root canals may start to show wear and tear from age. However, if teeth are becoming super-sensitive to cold and hot liquid or they are painful, it’s time to seek the opinion of a dentist. They may need to re-evaluate old work or treat new symptoms. “The mouth is no different than that of a car: sometimes the engine needs to be oiled and tires need to be replaced,” restorative dentist Lewis Chen, D.D.S., co-founder of Beam Street, explains.
The same is true if you often grind or clench your teeth, a habit Chen says is becoming more common amongst stressed out 30-somethings. You may not even notice it — but your smile will change. “Over time, due to constant pressure applied to teeth, they will start to wear and appear flatter and shorter, therefore affecting a patient’s appearance, esthetics, biology and functionality, all contributory factors to optimal oral health,” he explains.
One clear symptom you should address ASAP? Gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth since Chen says this is the manifestation of gingivitis and could be dangerous to your teeth and health if left untreated. “Bleeding exists when there is unremoved plaque, or bacteria, along the gum line, or underneath it, therefore causing inflammation of your gums. It is imperative to build good oral health habits, such as going for routine checkups and cleanings, flossing and brushing,” he stresses.
Poor sleep quality
Varini stresses the importance of regular rest. “Simply not getting enough good quality sleep causes severe strain and stress on the mind and body,” she says. “During the deeper sleep cycles, our bodies and minds do the majority of their rebalancing and repair. Seeing sleep as another important component to overall health and creating healthy sleep patterns at a young age can greatly reduce our chances of encountering stress-related health issues.”
To develop mindful sleep habits, it is important to tuck yourself in at the same time every night, and rise around the same time, too, since this teaches your body when to wind down and wake-up. You should also avoid the use of electronics at least an hour before hopping into bed, and forgo caffeine in the afternoon. If you can’t manage sleep on your own, there is no harm in seeing a professional who can help you develop strategies and calm your mind.
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