" Studies involving 2,509 women age 45 to 84 years old showed that reaching menopause before the age of 46 increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and dementia."
Women reached menopause when they haven't had a period within the last 12 months. The average menopause age slightly varies country to country. In the UK, Sweden, US, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, the average menopause age is 51; in Singapore, it is 49; in Japan and Indonesia, it is 50. In India, it has been reported that early menopause is on the rise with the average menopause age of 48 (Times of India, November 2, 2014).
Before menopause, the majority of estrogen in the women's body is produced by ovaries. However, estrogen is also made in a smaller quantity in adrenal glands and fat tissue. When a woman reaches menopause, ovaries no longer produce estrogen. Post-menopausal women rely on the adrenal glands and fat tissue for estrogen production.
Various factors including hereditary, diet, lifestyle and diseases may affect the menopause age. The declining levels of estrogen due to menopause has been associated with hot flashes, mood-swing and sleep difficulties. Studies suggest that early menopause has significant effects on the physical and mental health.
Early Menopause Increases The Risk for Heart Disease and Stroke
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women and men. Every year, 18 million people die from heart disease. Studies involving 2,509 women age 45 to 84 years from different ethnicities (987 White, 331 Chinese, 641 Black, 550 Hispanic) showed that women who reached menopause before the age of 46 have an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Estrogen is known to help control cholesterol levels, preserve bone density and affect the brain (mood). According to Harvard Medical School, high blood pressure is very common among post-menopausal women. High blood pressure increases the risk of having heart disease, stroke, dementia, kidney failure and vision problems.
Prior to menopause, estrogen seems to help stabilise blood pressure. However, studies suggest that hormone replacement therapy doesn't effectively reduce blood pressure in post-menopausal women.
Early Menopause Reduces The Cognitive Function
Cognitive function is related to the ability of the brain to think, reason and remember. Dementia and Alzheimer's happen when the brain has the difficulty to think, reason and remember. Early menopause has been associated with a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer's.
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How To Lower The Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke and Dementia in Post-Menopausal Women
There isn't a reliable and affordable solution to delay menopause. An early menopause is still unavoidable for many women. Nevertheless, there are at least few things that help lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and dementia in post-menopausal women such as:
1. Regular Consumption of Raw Garlic
Medical researchers found that garlic reduced the blood pressure in more than 80% of people who suffer from high blood pressure. Garlic also significantly reduces LDL cholesterol levels and helps prevent atherosclerosis, the hardening of arteries. It will be very beneficial for post-menopausal women to eat raw garlic regularly to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Studies showed that reducing calorie intake helps prevent diseases of ageing including dementia and Alzheimer's. It is important for post-menopausal women to maintain healthy weight and waist-to-hip-ratio.
Eating turmeric regularly may slow down the decline in cognitive function and prevent dementia in post-menopausal women. Curcumin, the active component of turmeric has been shown to improve memory and reduce the risk for Alzheimer's disease.
3. Increase The Intake of Resveratrol
Resveratrol is a polyphenol naturally found in the skin of red grapes and berries. It is a powerful antioxidant with excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Studies suggest that resveratrol protects the brain from premature ageing, hence, it reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's. In addition to that, resveratrol reduces the intensity of hot flashes in 78.6% menopausal women. Resveratrol is also available as a supplement in tablet and capsule.
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Henry Tianus is a multi-award-winning Anti-Ageing Scientist based in London, UK. Henry Tianus has been listed as The Recognised Institute Practitioner at The Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy (ITHMA), London (UK) since 2005. Henry Tianus's articles have been read by people in more than 100 countries with USA and UK at the top of the list. Join Henry Tianus eNewsletter to receive the latest health and wellbeing tips.
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Scientific Sources: Early Menopause Predicts Future Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), Menopause, 2012 October, 19 (10): 1081-1087; A comparative study of pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer: Risk factors, presentation, characteristics and management, Journal of Research in Pharmacy Practise, 2014 Jan-Mar, 3(1): 12-18; The Timing of the Age at Which Natural Menopause Occurs, Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America, 2011 Sep, 38(3): 425-440; Resveratrol for Alzheimer’s disease, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2017 Sep, 1403(1): 142-149; Menopause, NHS UK; Premature menopause on the rise, Times Of India, November 2, 2014; The what, why and how of aromatase inhibitors: hormonal agents for treatment and prevention of breast cancer, International Journal of Clinical Practice, 2007 Dec, 61(12): 2051-2063; What is Estrogen?, Hormone Health Network; High blood pressure a silent danger in postmenopausal women, Harvard Health Publishing, April 2013.