Metabolic syndrome and the menopause

Kaaja, Risto J.
March 2008
Menopause International;Mar2008, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p21
Academic Journal
The metabolic syndrome consists of a combination of risk factors that include abdominal obesity, atherogenic dyslipidaemia, hypertension and insulin resistance. It increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The increased risk of cardiovascular disease is higher in women than in men. The first manifestation of metabolic syndrome may occur in pregnancy presenting as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Both conditions are associated with increased insulin resistance. Also metabolic syndrome is more common in polycystic ovarian syndrome. It has been suggested that there is a metabolic syndrome resulting from the menopause due to estrogen deficiency, as many of the risk factors are more prevalent in postmenopausal women. Also estrogen replacement improves insulin sensitivity and reduces the risk of diabetes. The key elements in managing the metabolic syndrome are weight reduction, increasing physical activity and diet modification. If blood pressure, lipid and glycaemic control are not achieved through these interventions then pharmacological therapy will be required.


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