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Menopause

Updated 21 July 2014

Menopause: causing grievious bodily harm

Without oestrogen, it’s just a matter of time before everyone will start experiencing conditions such as atherosclerosis, osteoporosis and decreased mental ability.

Oestrogen is the hormone that protects you against osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and the external signs of ageing. Without oestrogen, it’s just a matter of time before everyone will start experiencing conditions such as atherosclerosis, osteoporosis and decreased mental ability.  Atherosclerosis and osteoporosis are both potentially lethal and dementia isn’t something anyone looks forward to.

1. Effect on the skeletal bones

Oestrogen deficiency accelerates the bone depletion that occurs during the normal ageing process. About 25% of women gradually experience bone fragility and fractures with declining oestrogen production. A decrease in bone mass may lead to curvature of the spine, vertebral compression fractures, height loss and pain. Bone loss in the femur bones occurs at a slower rate, and women who don’t take hormone therapy (HT) may not experience femur fractures until 70 -75 years.

  • Caucasian or Asian ethnicity
  • A slim build (decreased weight in relation to height)
  • A prior fracture
  • A family history of hip fractures or osteoporosis
  • Cigarette smoking, high alcohol intake, high caffeine consumption
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Early menopause (either spontaneously or after removal of the ovaries)
  • No or minimal exercise
  • Deficient intake of calcium and vitamin D, high protein intake
  • Endocrine disorders such as diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease, hyperthyroidism (overactivity of the thyroid gland) and corticosteroid therapy

2. Effect on the heart

3. Effect on fat distribution, muscle mass and skin

4. Effect on the brain

5. Effect on fertility

 

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