02/27/2013 07:57 am ET

Questions To Ask Your Doctor: The Top 3 For Women Over 50

When people show up for a business meeting, they have the points they want to make at the ready. When they take their car to a mechanic, they come with a list of concerns. So why would people visit their doctor and not say exactly what's on their mind?

"Both women and men need to persevere more when it comes to the questions they ask their doctors," Dorothy Foltz-Gray, an contributor, told Huff/Post50.

Foltz-Gray recently researched the topic extensively, speaking with a wide range of doctors.

"All of the doctors suggested that women never go away without a diagnosis if they are concerned that something is wrong with them," she said. "If a doctor says they really don't know what's going on then you need to ask where else you can go to get the information you need."

She said that men are about 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor in the past year, but that women need to do more to get all they can out of their doctor visits.

As a result, Foltz-Gray recently came up with a list of questions every post 50 woman should ask their doctor. Here are three of them.

1. "Am I at risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease?"

"Women over 50 are not going to be concerned about pregnancy but there are concerns to be aware of. Studies show that the cases of syphilis reported in those between 45 and 64 tripled between 2000 and 2010. So in other words there are reasons besides pregnancy for you to tell your partner they need to wear condoms. Women may think they are totally safe but they are not."

2. "Should I really drink a glass of wine a day?"

"There's been so much in the press about this issue. One of the doctors mentioned that 27 percent of women over 75 drink at least two alcoholic drinks a day. A recent study tracked 1,300 women for 20 years until they were at least 65 years old and found that women drank seven to 14 drinks a week. But if they do that they are more likely to have problems with their memory.

"Many of us feel comfortable drinking wine and it's gotten a lot of good press," Foltz-Gray continued. "We're getting older and so we wonder why we shouldn't put our feet up and drink that wine. It's not dangerous, but it's important to understand how not to overdo it" by talking with your doctor.

3. "Should I be treated for depression?"

"Depression affects twice as many women as men and 6.5 million Americans over 65 suffer from depression. I think we as a culture are more comfortable talking about physical ailments, but depression is so prevalent in women. It is important to just tell your doctor when you've been feeling sad [or as] if you aren't as interested in life as you used to be. You should ask whether to be concerned about your feelings."

Visit AARP for a look at other questions older women should ask their doctors.



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