OTTAWA: New Canadian research has found that menopause could be a risk factor for women developing metabolic syndrome, a collection of conditions including a higher waist circumference, low levels of “good” cholesterol and higher blood pressure, which together can increase the risk of other serious health conditions.
Published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), the new study looked at data gathered from more than 10,000 women aged 45 to 85 years old who participated in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Ageing.
The researchers found that there was a link between menopause and an increased risk of metabolic syndrome or some of the conditions that make up the condition, including hypertension (high blood pressure), central obesity (which is excessive fat around the stomach) and high blood sugar.
The findings back up those produced by previous studies, which have also suggested an association between menopause and metabolic syndrome, independent of ageing, although the researchers note that rates of metabolic syndrome do also increase with age.
However, they add that the good news is that making healthy lifestyle changes can help women with metabolic syndrome reduce the risk of diseases linked with the condition, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Previous research has also suggested that hormone therapy can help mitigate this risk, although the researchers say this needs further investigation.
“These results reaffirm the previously identified link between menopause and metabolic syndrome.
“Given the increased cardiovascular risk associated with metabolic syndrome and that heart disease remains the number one killer of women, this study highlights the importance of cardiovascular risk assessment and risk reduction strategies in midlife women,” says Dr Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.