What is considered midlife for a woman? Some might say they’re at a mid-point in life because their menstrual cycles have ended. But according to Brenda Smith, MD, a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist and owner of Midlife Wellness Center in Kansas City, Missouri, midlife for a woman is actually a huge segment of time, in fact, many years representing a new and exciting phase for females to fully enjoy. However, the time to plan for a successful transition into and through this time frame requires a solid foundation of good mental and physical health that begins well before entering this phase of life.
“The rallying cry I use for my patients is ‘Get a (mid)life!’ and the solution is to use the time early in life to really take stock of their health and have a plan for their future health,” noted Dr. Smith. “Women tend to put everyone else first in their family and rarely address their own issues, which puts them at a huge disadvantage as they age.”
Dr. Smith’s entire career has been focused on helping women. She began practicing medicine nearly 30 years ago as an OBGYN. In 1993 she was the first physician in Kansas City to begin prescribing bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. In 2005 she opened the Midlife Wellness Center to further help women with their health needs.
“It’s really important to make that decision and put energy and thought into building your midlife plan. If you perform a health assessment and come up with a strategy, you’ll do well in midlife,” stated Dr. Smith. “You shouldn’t enter this period of your life and then slide downhill into poor health and a poor quality of life. Create a midlife for yourself by doing the maintenance that is required. Look at the diagram with this story. Choose to be patient A, not patient B–you deserve a midlife.”
Dr. Smith advises women to have a complete and thorough assessment of their physical and mental condition to begin building that strategy. At Midlife Wellness Center, Dr. Smith asks her patients to complete an extensive assessment; together you’ll review in depth your hormonal health, nutritional health, metabolic health, immune health and preventive health. This initial evaluation at the Midlife Wellness Center lasts approximately two to two and a half hours and includes a far-reaching question and answer session with Dr. Smith as she investigates a patient’s health concerns. Coupled with this extensive discussion are lab tests, which identify key levels of hormones and other health indicators. From this data, she will compose a personalized wellness plan to answer client concerns and construct a healthy lifestyle strategy.
“We shouldn’t assume that a woman’s health concerns in midlife are simply related to hormone levels. Perhaps your issues are due to metabolic or immune system problems,” remarked Dr. Smith. “As I go through this extensive questionnaire with my patients, we’ll talk about lifestyle, exercise, wellbeing, nutrition, environmental and other factors. This critical feedback may signal this is not a hormonal issue. Unfortunately, I’ve seen far too many women who are unhappy with their current treatment because practitioners haven’t solved their problems and are merely prescribing hormone replacement as the answer to all problems.”
As she works with a patient, Dr. Smith will delve into three key areas, the first being nutrition, which is always important, but as you age, it becomes even more vital that you provide your body with good fuel. Nutrition even affects how hormones function in the body. At your consultation, Dr. Smith will review any concerns you have regarding weight. A strategy will be developed to help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk for weight-related illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer.
Dr. Smith will also discuss preventive health advice for her patients. It’s a fact that most diseases don’t just suddenly appear; they result from years of neglect and abuse. Dr. Smith will help you recognize the early warning signs of disease and make suggestions so that you can live a healthier midlife. “Middle-aged women can get lost in the cracks when it comes to healthcare,” noted Dr. Smith. “Being a female gives me a very important perspective in helping my clients because I’ve experienced many of the issues they have. I’m a female who is very invested in helping females with health issues.”
In addition, Dr. Smith urges her patients to pass this “Get a (mid)life” mentality and development of a vigorous lifestyle plan onto the next generation so that they benefit, too. “I tell my patients to share what they learn with their daughters to ensure they are more aware than we were,” stated Dr. Smith. HLM
To learn more about Midlife Wellness Center, call816-587-7979or visit the website at midlifewellnesscenter.com.