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Protecting your health after menopause

The International Menopause society has put out a report bringing awareness to the fact that the period following the menopause is a vital time to take preventative steps to protect your health.

In the decade following the menopause, women become vulnerable to a variety of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cognitive decline (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease) and cancer.

Many of these conditions occur simply because of increasing age however some worsen after menopause due the sudden halt of oestrogen production. As such medical consultation along with possible treatment can complement lifestyle changes in protecting your future health.

 

Common Conditions Associated with the Menopause

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis related fractures affect at least one third of women over the age of 50. Older women are particularly vulnerable due to the loss of oestrogen following the menopause Lifestyle and diet are both important for preserving bone mass following menopause.  You can protect your bones by maintaining fitness, not smoking, eating and drinking sensible. Various pharmaceutical products including hormone replacement therapy are also of assistance in preventing osteoporosis.

Cardiovascular disease

Heart disease is the main killer of women and the incidence of heart diseases increases at a faster annual rate in women than men following the occurrence of menopause. This is considered to be due to the loss of protective hormonal factors that exist in pre-menopausal women. There is good evidence that hormone replacement therapy can protect against cardiovascular disease if it is taken within 10 years of menopause occurring or under the age of 60. Maintenance of a healthy lifestyle is of course essential to preventing heart disease.

Cancer

Cancer rates generally increase with age and breast cancer in particular has a high post-menopausal incidence. Cancer risks can increase or decrease with the use of certain sorts of medications and for this reason it is essential to see your doctor to see which treatment is right for you.

 

For more detailed information see the World Menopause day paper.