Early Menopause Health Risks

Women who go through early menopause have a substantially higher risk for heart attacks and strokes, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. The study found that the risk doubled if menopause occurred before age 46. What sets this study apart is that researchers found increased risk regardless of ethnicity, or whether early menopause was natural or due to hysterectomy with removal of ovaries.

Too Much Iron?

Iron levels may be a key to stopping diseases. Men have more iron in their bodies than women, though it is unclear why. Excess levels of iron in the brain contribute to the development of abnormal protein deposits linked to diseases such as Alzheimer-s and Parkinson-s. Men develop these diseases earlier in life than do women, and higher levels of iron could be partly to blame.

Now, in a new study, iron levels in post-menopausal women who had had hysterectomies before menopause were compared to those who had not. Researchers found that the 15 women who had hysterectomies had higher brain levels of iron (similar to amounts found in men) than the 24 women who did not.

Scientists speculate that brain iron is affected by levels found elsewhere in the body and therefore could be altered, possibly lessening the risk for such diseases. Source: UCLA. Learn more about iron overload.

Soy Ineffective

From The Dallas Morning News “Healthy Living” section, October 4, 2011: Adding soy to a woman-s diet to reduce hot flashes and night sweats does not work. It also lowers thyroid hormone levels. So it is not a good idea. Soy actually makes hot flashes worse. Pycnogenol made from French coastal pines does help.

Sooner Better

Data from the California Teacher-s Study – a prospective cohort study – was robustly reassuring as to cardiovascular safety when hormone therapy is used by recently menopausal women. The earlier HRT is started, age-wise, the better the results. This from Annals of Internal Medicine, 2010:152:211.

Everything You Want to Know About Menopause

DefinitionMenopause is the permanent end of menstruation and fertility, defined as occurring 12 months after the last menstrual period. Menopause is a natural biological process, not a medical illness. Even so, the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause can disrupt your sleep, sap your energy and – at least indirectly -trigger feelings of sadness and loss. (more…)