Does Menopause Increase Risk of Diabetes?
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The findings also shed light on the impact of diet and exercise and hormone replacement therapy on the health of postmenopausal women. Previous studies had shown that menopause could speed the progression to diabetes because of the higher levels of testosterone. All the women in the study had "glucose intolerance," meaning their bodies struggled to process blood sugar into energy.
The researchers have shown that lifestyle interventions can help prevent diabetes in those with glucose intolerance.These interventions work well in women who have gone through menopause.
According to the new study, for every year 100 women observed, 11.8 premenopausal women developed diabetes, compared to 10.5 among women in natural menopause and 12.9 cases among women who had their ovaries removed.
But for those who had their ovaries removed and engaged in lifestyle changes, the rate of diabetes plummeted to 1.1. Those changes included losing seven percent of their body weight (that would be 12.6 pounds for a 180-pound woman) and exercising for at least 150 minutes a week.
They found these results surprising, as the women had gone on hormone replacement therapy, which many fear escalates the risk for many health issues. The message to take away from this is that lifestyle changes to shed pounds could reduce your risk of developing diabetes.