Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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Getting older

A friend told me recently that she found herself in a surprising conversation not long ago with two women our age (40).  The women were talking about their botox treatments.

Minutes earlier, they’d been talking about their preference for organic food — how they want only the best foods for themselves and their families, and the least possible risk of ingesting chemicals or pesticides.

The conversation got me, and my friend, thinking about what it means to get a bit older, and what constitues healthful aging.

So I turned to my old friend Google to see what I might find about hitting 40. It’s such a young age, yet I know it marks a time when women need to pay  more attention to their health. As Dr. Christopher Lillis noted in a recent, wonderful Healthy Living column on men’s health through the decades, exercising and fitness don’t come as easily at this stage of life–you need to work harder to maintain them.

My Google search didn’t bring up anything on botox, but it did guide me to a piece by Dr. Oz on “Five Questions Women Over 40 Must Ask Their Doctor.” The five questions are:

  • What supplements should I take? (Short answer, you’d probably benefit from calcium and vitamin D.)
  • Why am I gaining weight? (If you are, it might be a sign that your thyroid is malfunctioning.)
  • How healthy is my heart? (Heart disease is the leading killer of women in their 40s and beyond).
  • Do I still need birth control? (Personal choice, but Oz notes that women in their 40s definitely aren’t too old to get pregnant.)
  • Is it menopause? (Yep, if you haven’t had a period for 12 straight months and aren’t pregnant or nursing.)

You can

If you’re curious about botox treatments, which can be done for medical or cosmetic reasons, has a good summary about the risks and results at

If you’re curious about plastic surgery and the pressures women face to maintain their appearance as they age, the New York Times’ health section, under the category “plastic surgery,” has numerous stories, including one from May called “The Case For Laugh Lines.”