What is menopause?
Menopause is the term for the time of life when ovaries cease to produce estrogen, causing menstrual periods to stop. This is also when the reproductive years end. The average age that a woman begins to go through menopause is 51 years.
What bodily changes & risk factors occur after menopause?
While it is normal to have some bone loss after age 35, there is a much more rapid loss of bone in the first 4-8 years following menopause. This is due to the decreased levels of estrogen. If too much bone is lost, it can lead to osteoporosis.
Estrogen production during reproductive years protects against heart attacks and stoke. The decline in estrogen after menopause means there is less protection. This factor, combined with other mid-life risk factors which impact heart disease (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity), can further lead to an increase in risk of heart attack and stroke.
How can women stay healthy after menopause?
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can positively impact the years after menopause. Some ways to stay healthy during this time in life are:
A balanced and nutritious diet is an important factor in maintaining health at any age, and can become even more important after menopause. Make sure to include enough calcium and vitamin D, which both contribute to maintaining bone strength.
Physical activity is even more important after menopause, as it slows the process of bone loss. Weight-bearing exercises, strength training, and balance training all play important roles in protecting bones, while also keeping them strong.
-Maintain health care:
Yearly visits to health care providers are important in order to run routine exams and tests. It is equally important to schedule annual dental and eye exams. Even if there is no illness associated with the visits, they can help detect other health issues early.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to take the place of the doctor-patient relationship and any email is not appropriate for emergency care. To schedule an appointment, please call your doctor's primary office, listed on our Locations page. In case of emergency, we are available 24 hours a day.