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Home > Health Library > Menopause and Your Risk for Other Health Concerns
Menopause is the point in a woman's life when she has not had her period for 1 year. It marks the end of the childbearing years.
Menopause is a natural part of growing older. You don't need treatment for it unless your symptoms bother you. But it's a good idea to learn all you can about menopause. Knowing what to expect can help you stay as healthy as possible during this new phase of your life.
Your risks for some health problems increase after menopause. At your yearly visits, your doctor can check your overall health and recommend testing as needed.
Heart disease and stroke. Your risk of heart disease and stroke is higher after menopause. This higher risk is not completely understood. But cholesterol, high blood pressure, and fat around the belly—all things that raise the risk for heart disease and stroke—also increase around this time.
If you need relief for symptoms of menopause, you may be thinking about hormone therapy (HT). But because menopause and hormones are linked with your blood vessels' health, talk to your doctor about your risk of heart disease and stroke to make sure that hormone therapy is safe for you.
Bone thinning (osteoporosis). As you age, your bones get thinner naturally. Bone loss increases around menopause, when ovaries stop making estrogen. Estrogen is a hormone that protects against bone loss. So the older you get, the more likely you are to have osteoporosis.
But you can help slow bone loss and prevent broken bones with weight-bearing exercise and a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
Metabolism. As you age, your metabolism naturally slows down. But your metabolism and weight are not out of your control. One way to boost your metabolism is to be more active. When you exercise, your metabolism speeds up. For a few hours afterward, it stays slightly higher. And over time, regular exercise builds muscle. The more muscle you have, the more of a boost your resting metabolism gets.
Diabetes. The risk for getting prediabetes and type 2 diabetes increases with age. Your risk may be higher if you are overweight, get little or no exercise, or have type 2 diabetes in your family.
Thyroid problems. Women age 60 and older have the highest risk for hypothyroidism. Some perimenopause-like symptoms may be caused by a thyroid problem.
A healthy lifestyle may help you manage menopause symptoms. It can also help lower your risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, and other long-term health problems.
Current as of: February 19, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Current as of:
February 19, 2019
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
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