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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Veena Angle, MBBS, MD on July 5, 2022

Is Your Physical Health At Its Optimal In Your 40s?

If you don't have a fever or other concerning symptoms in your 40s, does that mean your physical health is in good condition? Not exactly. Here's why.

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In your 40s, you may notice that your physical health isn’t what it used to be. For example, you may experience aches and pains for no apparent reason.

However, if you were to go to the doctor for a check-up, you would likely be sent home and told that this is normal.

So, should you worry or not? After all, it’s not like you have any other concerning symptoms. Your physical health should be just fine, right? Maybe not.

In this guide, our experts explain why your physical health might be declining even if you feel well. Plus, you’ll learn simple ways to remedy common ailments in your 40s.

How Do I Know If My Physical Health Is Declining?

Insomnia may be a sign of declining physical health.

Declining physical health is not noticeable right away. If you could get up from your bed this morning and go about your daily routine, you’re probably feeling well enough.

Western medicine usually diagnoses and treats diseases based on the patient’s symptoms. 

On the other hand, you might get a different outcome if you visit a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician. TCM determines health or illness through observation of the overall state of the patient’s body.

Therefore, even though you don’t experience major symptoms, such as fever or other kinds of discomforts, you might still be diagnosed with declining physical health. In TCM, this state of health is referred to as sub-health.

What is sub-health?

Also known as sub-optimal health status (SHS), sub-health has been defined as an intermediate state between health and disease or between healthy and unhealthy.

According to The TCM Clinical Guidelines of Suboptimal Health Status, this condition is characterized by the perception of health problems, general weakness, and low energy within three months. It is regarded as the stage preceding a chronic disease. 

It occurs when a patient develops deteriorating physical health. This leads to more severe illnesses over time, especially when it goes untreated. 

6 Signs Of Declining Physical Health

In general, TCM believes that organ imbalance is the root cause of sub-health. A person’s overall health and well-being rely on the harmony between the Heart, Liver, Spleen, Lungs, and Kidneys. The five organs work by influencing other systems and each other. Sub-health occurs when there’s an imbalance in one or more organs.

Based on this philosophy, there are six common signs indicating someone might be suffering from declining physical health:

Trouble sleeping at night

A 2020 study found that sub-health patients score significantly higher on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) than healthy people.

PSQI was invented to measure sleep quality; the higher the score, the worse the quality. This result suggests that insomnia goes hand in hand with sub-health. 

TCM’s take: Insomnia comes from too much yang (active energy) or too little yin (passive energy), leading to excessive Heat in the Heart that disturbs the mind and body. Try stimulating the acupoints Bai Hui (DU 20), Shen Men (HT 7), and An Mian (EX-HN) to calm the mind for a good night’s sleep.

Mood swings and irritability

Taichong (LR3): located on the dorsum of the foot, in the depression of the first metatarsal space.

The study above also discovered that irritability and having a short temper — along with fatigue, forgetfulness, chest tightness, lack of concentration, and memory loss — is more prominent in sub-health patients.

TCM’s take: Liver Qi (life force energy) Stagnation can lead to irritability. The Liver is responsible for regulating emotions. Therefore, a blockage could prevent it from functioning optimally. Lingzhi Cracked Spores supplements calm the central nervous system to provide stress relief support that can help you control anger. You can also stimulate the acupoint Tai Chong (LR3).

Nasal congestion

A runny nose or sneezing in the morning is often an underlying sign of common sicknesses, such as allergies, cold, or flu. However, it can also be a symptom of infections, hormonal imbalances, or COVID-19

TCM’s take: A runny nose may point to Lung Qi Deficiency. Our Lungs play a huge role in our overall wellness, so having a deficient pair can certainly take a toll on our health. Besides a runny nose, a Deficiency in the Lung Qi can also manifest in shortness of breath, susceptibility to flu, and sweating profusely. Acupoints that can help with nasal congestion include Feng Chi (GB 20), He Gu (LI 4), Ying Xiang (LI 20), Yin Tang (EX-HN3), and Zu San Li (ST 36).


Constipation can be easily cured with dietary changes. But in some cases, constipation is a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome. 

TCM’s take: Spleen Deficiency is the cause of constipation and other digestion-related problems, like bloating and gastric pain. Moreover, TCM believes that the Spleen produces qi, making it the origin of life’s energy itself. This is why a disturbance in the organ can disrupt energy flow and induce health issues. Herbs that help with Spleen health and constipation include ginseng, white atractylodes, astragalus, codonopsis, licorice, and Chinese yam.

Frequent urination during the night

Nocturia or frequent urination at night has been linked to diabetes, poor Kidney function, urinary tract infections, enlarged prostate, and bladder stones.

TCM’s take: This condition stems from a Deficiency in the Kidneys, where a substance called jing is generated. Jing is said to be an essence that can transform into qi and blood. Therefore, a Kidney Deficiency may affect health negatively. Be careful if you have lower back pain because it’s one of the symptoms of deficient kidneys. Cordyceps can be used to help control frequent urination.

Hair loss

In severe cases, hair loss may suggest autoimmune diseases or thyroid imbalance in women. It may lead to hypertension, prostate cancer, coronary heart diseases, insulin resistance disorders, or prostate enlargement in men. 

TCM’s take: Hair loss is the effect of Kidney and Liver Deficiency. The two organs are closely related, as both regulate the blood and nutrients in the body. 

A balanced diet that consists of foods like fish, meat, beans, and eggs is good for hair health. Vitamin E, too, is equally important for healthy hair growth. Tocotrienols, a group of chemicals from the vitamin E family, can help reduce lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress in the scalp, which can trigger the onset of alopecia. Examples of food that are rich in vitamin E are celery, spinach, and black sesame seeds.

How To Support Physical Health In Your 40’s

A healthy diet becomes increasingly important as you get older. Learn how to incorporate healthy foods into your diet to prevent your physical health from declining.

TCM physicians may recommend cupping, acupuncture, lifestyle adjustments, or dietary changes to treat sub-health and support physical health in your 40s. A physician may advise you to avoid heaty foods, refrain from overeating, and have meals regularly to treat constipation and weak Spleen.

Herbs can also be helpful. For instance, cooling teas made from chrysanthemum and lophatherum may combat insomnia and Heat Excess in the Heart. Meanwhile, fleece flower root can remedy Kidney and Liver Deficiencies. 

You can also try a bone and joint supplement to help eliminate Wind Dampness and relieve joint pain. Meanwhile, medicinal mushrooms, such as Cordyceps and Lingzhi, can help relieve many symptoms of declining physical health in your 40’s. This includes fatigue, low libido, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and immune health.

Remember, Physical Health Is More Than Meets The Eye!

When it comes to physical health, we now know that there is more to it than meets the eye. The absence of serious symptoms may not necessarily constitute a healthy body.

Since an imbalance in the organ systems causes sub-health, it’s crucial to counter its deteriorating effects with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices.

To better recognize the condition of your body, remember to consult trusted physicians before undergoing any treatment. 

This is an adaptation of an article, “6 Signs of Sub Health,” which first appeared on Eu Yan Sang website. 

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