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Women Who Begin The Menopause Before 40 Are '50% More Likely To Develop Type 2 Diabetes'

Nigeria Student Forum / General Discussion / Health & Fitness / Women Who Begin The Menopause Before 40 Are '50% More Likely To Develop Type 2 Diabetes' (38) Views

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Women who begin the menopause before turning 40 are 50 per cent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, a study claims.

Researchers also found women who stop having periods before 45 are 15 per cent more at risk than women who enter the menopause at the 'normal' age.

The average age for the start of the menopause is 51 in the UK and US but thousands begin the natural process as early as 40.

Greek scientists believe a drop in the hormones oestrogen and progesterone during the menopause may reduce insulin production.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body stops making insulin or no longer responds to the hormone that is produced.

Women who begin the menopause before the age of 40 are 50 per cent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who do so at the 'normal' age of 45-to-55 (stock)
Women who begin the menopause before the age of 40 are 50 per cent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who do so at the 'normal' age of 45-to-55 (stock)
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki researchers analysed 13 studies with a total of 191,762 postmenopausal women, of which 21,664 had type 2 diabetes.

'This is the first meta-analysis to show both early menopause and premature ovarian failure are linked with increased risk of type 2 diabetes,' lead author Dr Panagiotis Anagnostis said.

'Women who experience early menopause should be especially vigilant about eating healthily and exercising to help reduce their risk of developing diabetes.'

The study was presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes conference in Berlin.

Although the link between the menopause and type 2 diabetes is unclear, previous research suggests oestrogen protects the insulin-making cells in the pancreas.

Progesterone also plays a role in ensuring insulin levels do not rise too high.

Too much insulin causes cells to absorb excessive amounts of glucose from the blood, which can lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels.

Dr Elizabeth Robertson, director of research at Diabetes UK, said: 'This research doesn't prove that early menopause can cause type 2 diabetes, but it suggests that when the menopause happens could be an important factor to watch out for.

'Different factors contribute to a person's risk of type 2 diabetes and more research is needed to understand what role early menopause could play.

'While women can't control when their menopause happens, they can take several steps to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes.

'These include getting more active, managing a healthy weight, not smoking and sticking to the recommended alcohol consumption guidelines, as well as eating a healthy balanced diet.'

It is estimated more than one in 17 people in the UK and a total of 30.3 million in the US have diabetes. Of these, 90 per cent have type 2, which is driven by obesity.

The menopause occurs when a woman stops having periods and can no longer get pregnant naturally.

Around one in 100 women experience it before they turn 40, which is known as premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency.

IS THERE ANY RISK USING HRT FOR WOMEN GOING THROUGH MENOPAUSE?
Menopause, which commonly strikes women in their late 40s and early 50s, can cause depression, hot flushes, headaches and night sweats. Long term, it can also cause bone disease and memory loss.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) tackles these symptoms by replacing the female sex hormones - oestrogen and progestogen - as the body stops producing them.

But while it can transform the lives of many women, studies have shown that there may be an increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease from HRT. As a result, many women no longer accept HRT treatment and some doctors will not prescribe it.

It was however noted by the Woman's Health Concern (WHC) that one of the American studies used women in their mid-sixties who were often overweight as subjects, and these are unrepresentative of women in the UK.

Furthermore, a controlled trial from Denmark reported in 2012 has demonstrated that healthy women taking combined HRT for 10 years immediately after the menopause had a reduced risk of heart disease and of dying from heart disease, contradicting the reports of the earlier studies.

The WHC says HRT is safe provided it is taken for the correct reasons, i.e. to alleviate the symptoms of the menopause, and at the minimum effective dose.

Source: WHC

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