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Menopause Can Increase Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 14 Jul 2020
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Image: Menopause is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
Image: Menopause is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
A new study identifies menopause as a risk factor for the development of metabolic syndrome (MTS) or its components, such as hypertension and high blood sugar.

Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital (Toronto, Canada), the University of Toronto (Canada), and other institutions conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 12,611 women (45 to 85 years of age) who participated in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging Comprehensive Cohort in order to evaluate menopause as an independent risk factor for development of MTS or any one of its components, including hypertension, central obesity, dyslipidemia, or elevated glycated hemoglobin.

The results revealed that 79.6% of the women had undergone menopause. The prevalence of MTS was higher (38.2%) among postmenopausal women, compared to 23.2% in premenopausal women. After adjusting for age, body mass index (BMI), and other covariates, menopausal women had a significantly higher relative risk of MTS, when using criteria with a lower waist circumference. Menopause was also associated with a higher risk of impaired glucose tolerance, elevated blood pressure, and elevated triglycerides. The study was published on June 29, 2020, in Menopause.

“These results reaffirm the previously identified link between menopause and metabolic syndrome,” said Stephanie Faubion, MD, medical director of The North American Menopause Society (Pepper Pike, OH, USA), who was not involved in the study. “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.”

Menopause describes the permanent cessation of the primary functions of the human ovaries, including the cessation of estradiol and progesterone endocrine hormone production. The menopausal transition can be divided into three stages. During pre-menopause, the menstrual cycle becomes irregular; this stage begins 5-10 years before menopause. Perimenopause is the transition period prior to menopause, when the function of the ovaries noticeably fades away, leading to cessation of menstruation. Post-menopause is the time after the last menstruation.

Related Links:
St. Michael’s Hospital
University of Toronto

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