Ch Ch Changes

Posted by on Sep 1, 2008 in heart disease | 2 comments

Among the many changes that occur during menopause, one of the most potentially dangerous is actually being attributed to testosterone rather than estrogen.

Results of a 9-year study study published in the July 28th issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine show that the key hormonal change associated with developing the metabolic syndrome is the steep and progressive domination of testosterone. What’s more, this increase occurs independently of aging and other potential confounding factor (such as smoking, body mass index, ethnicity, marital status and education).

(Metabolic syndrome is a term used to describe the cluster of risk factors (e.g. abdominal fat, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and insulin resistance) that increases the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. It affects up to a third of women after age 55.)

Study participants included 949 women recruited from the ongoing  Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, which is examining factors that affect health and quality of life in women during their middle years.  Women were either premenopausal or in early menopause, and had never used HRT.  Overall, women were shown to have a 1.45 times greater risk of developing the metabolic syndrome in perimenopause and a 1.25 greater risk after menopause.

So, let’s do the math.

  1. Metabolic syndrome is closely associated with high blood pressure, obesity, and insulin resistance.
  2. Menopausal women are at increased risk for abdominal redistribution and weight gain.
  3. Regular exercise/physical activity and a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and low in saturated fats, are essential.

With regards to the predominance of testosterone, well, that’s just one more hurdle to overrcome. In the coming weeks, I’ll see if I can find a few evidence-driven tips to counteract this imbalance. In the meantime, we’ve got yet another reason to keep moving!


  1. 9-8-2008

    Very interesting information. I will stay tuned for those tips to counteract the imbalance. My latest blog post deals with weight gain that is fluid related, which seems to be very difficult to address. Most of the medical community is not prepared to offer advice on fluid retention, and seem to blame the patient for eating too much and not exercising enough. Eating less and exercising more will certainly not result in loss of excess fluids, though tip #3 (Regular exercise/physical activity and a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and low in saturated fats, are essential) might go a long way to addressing this issue. There is nothing simple about losing excess fluid, but where heart disease is concerned, it’s importance can’t be understated. Thanks for educating us.
    Many blessings,

  2. 9-10-2008

    Hi Carrie! Thanks for commenting. I agree; fluid retention in heart disease is critical to address. Please let me know if you find anything else of interest here or elsewhere!


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