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Metabolic syndrome precedes menopause

Women nearing menopause are at an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome precedes menopause

Women nearing menopause have a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome (MetS) refers to a cluster of risk factors for heart disease, stroke and diabetes, including high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, high blood sugar, low levels of good HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides (another type of blood fat). Previous studies have suggested that that the prevalence of MetS increases from pre-menopause to post-menopause in women, independent of age. But little is known about the reasons for this association. To find out what elevates the risk of MetS in women nearing menopause, researchers from America studied 949 women, aged between 42 and 52 years, free of MetS at the beginning of the study. The researchers looked at the oestrogen and testosterone levels of women as they proceeded from the pre-menopause to the post-menopause stage. It was found that nearly 14 percent of the participants developed MetS by the time they had their final menstrual period. The risk of developing the syndrome increased progressively starting six years before the final menstrual period, and was found to be greater during pre-menopause stages than the post-menopause stages. Further, women's oestrogen levels were unrelated to the risk of developing the syndrome. Instead, the syndrome correlated with an increase in testosterone activity, suggesting that the direct negative effects of testosterone are more important than the loss of oestrogen's positive effects in women's cardiovascular risks. The researchers recommended women to quit smoking, follow a healthy diet and get regular exercise for reducing the risk of the various components of MetS.
Archives of Internal Medicine
July 2008
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