Menopause is reached when a woman hasn't had her 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, diets, 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 health.
Early Menopause Increases The Risk for Heart Disease and Stroke
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. 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 and Dementia in Post-Menopausal Women
Until there is a reliable and affordable solution to delay menopause, an early menopause is still unavoidable for many women. Nevertheless, there are at least few things to help lower the risk of heart disease and dementia in post-menopausal women such as:
1. Eating 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 for heart disease and stroke.
2. Maintaining 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 watch their diet and maintain a healthy weight.
Curcumin, the active component of turmeric has been shown to improve memory and reduce the risk for Alzheimer's disease. Eating turmeric regularly may slow down the decline in cognitive function and prevent dementia in post-menopausal women.
3. Taking Resveratrol
Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammation which has been known to slow down ageing process. Studies suggest that resevatrol protects the brain from premature ageing, hence, it helps reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's. In addition to lower the risk for various cancers, resveratrol has also been proven to reduce the intensity of hot flashes in 78.6% menopausal women.
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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 US, UK amd Canada 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.