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Menopause and HRT

Holistic-online.com

Long-Term Effects Of Estrogen Deficiency

Osteoporosis

Cardiovascular Disease

Osteoporosis

One of the most important health issues for middle-aged women is the threat of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become thin, fragile, and highly prone to fracture. Numerous studies have linked estrogen insufficiency to this gradual, yet debilitating disease. In fact, osteoporosis is more closely related to menopause than to a woman's chronological age.

The risk of osteoporosis increases with age, smoking, heavy alcohol use, a family history of osteoporosis, long-term use of certain drugs (such as cortisone), surgical removal of the ovaries, radiation therapy for cancer of the ovaries, poor nutrition and other factors. Fine-boned women should pay special attention to preserving their bone mass, because they can't afford to lose any of it.

Factors That Increase Your Risk of Osteoporosis and Fractures

Genetic or Medical Factors
bulletWhite (or Asian) ethnicity
bulletKidney disease with dialysis
bulletEarly menopause (before age 40)
bulletFemale relatives with osteoporosis
bulletBeing thin (especially if you are short)
bulletChronic diarrhea or surgical removal of part of the stomach or small intestine
bulletDaily use of cortisone
bulletDaily use of thyroid (over 2 grains), Dilantin, or aluminum-containing antacids
bulletPrevious fractures that occurred easily, without major trauma

Life Style Factors
bulletLow calcium diet
bulletLack of exercise
bulletVery high-protein diet
bulletHigh alcohol use
bulletSmoking
bulletLack of vitamin D from sun, diet, or pills
bulletHigh salt diet
bulletNever having borne children
bulletHigh caffeine use (over 5 cups daily)

The condition of an older woman's skeleton depends on two things:
bulletThe peak amount of bone attained before menopause and
bulletThe rate of the bone loss thereafter.

Hereditary factors are important in determining peak bone mass. Black women attain a greater spinal mass and therefore have fewer osteoporotic fractures than white women. Other factors that help increase bone mass include:
bulletAdequate intake of dietary calcium and vitamin D
bulletExposure to sunlight and
bulletPhysical exercise.

These elements also help slow the rate of bone loss. Certain physiological stresses can quicken bone loss, such as pregnancy, nursing, and immobility. The biggest culprit in the process of bone loss is estrogen deficiency. Bone loss quickens during perimenopause, the transitional phase when estrogen levels drop significantly.

The most effective therapy against osteoporosis available today for postmenopausal women is estrogen. Estrogen saves more bone tissue than the daily infusion of large doses of calcium.

Influences on Bone Development

Increases bone formation Speeds bone loss
Dietary calcium Estrogen deficiency
Vitamin D Pregnancy
Exposure to sunlight Nursing
Exercise Lack of exercise

See Also: Osteoporosis

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are disorders of the heart and circulatory system. They include:
bulletThickening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) that serve the heart and Limbs
bulletHigh blood pressure
bulletAngina and
bulletStroke.

For reasons unknown, estrogen helps protect women against CVD during the childbearing years.

This is true even when they have the same risk factors as men, including smoking, high blood cholesterol levels, and a family history of heart disease. But the protection disappears when the women go through menopause. After menopause, the incidence of CVD increases, with each passing year posing a greater risk.

Menopause brings changes in the level of fats in a woman's blood. LDL cholesterol appears to increase while HDL decreases in postmenopausal women as a direct result of estrogen deficiency. Elevated LDL and total cholesterol can lead to stroke, heart attack, and death.

See Also: 

Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy

Osteoporosis

Heart Infocenter in Holisticonline.com

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