World Menopause Month: It's a Woman's World

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: October 14, 2010

Get your sunglasses ready this month! You might see some power surges spark — October is World Menopause Month and October 18th is World Menopause Day. Currently, about 25 million women experience the surge, undergoing menopause each year. At this rate, according to the World Health Organization, we can expect by the year 2030, the world population of postmenopausal women to increase to 1.2 billion. At that time, 47 million new women will be entering menopause each year making it truly a woman’s world!

Women are living longer, healthier lives well beyond our hormonally challenged state of menopause. These days, we’re fortunate to have ample access to medical information from doctors, health professionals and most importantly, from other women. We no longer need to suffer in silence at the mercy of our hormones. In this day and age in our modern day woman’s world, there is help available for all aspects of menopause. World Menopause Month is a time to gather information from the many resources available and initiate change to overcome the challenges that menopause may be presenting.

Menopause can lead to a variety of age-related diseases including heart disease and osteoporosis. Moreover, symptoms of menopause can have a truly negative impact on the quality of daily life. By tightening our reigns on these issues, we can keep them in check so we can continue living strong, meaningful and long lives. For World Menopause Month, learn what the biggest threats to your health are at menopause and ways to prevent them:

Getting a Grip on Heart Disease

Nearly twice as many women in the US die of heart disease and stroke as from all forms of cancer, including breast cancer. Women usually don’t have heart problems until after they reach menopause. The hormone, estrogen, is believed to be good for your heart as it protects women against heart disease. The natural aging process and the loss of estrogen at menopause put women at higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the number one killer of women in the United States.

At menopause, you should undergo a careful assessment of your risk factors for CVD and discuss with your physician ways to prevent this serious life threatening disease. You may not have control over some of these risk factors, but you can actively do a part to maintain your heart health by consciously altering your lifestyle and practicing healthy heart habits.

Regular visits to the doctor are important for your heart health. If you are one of the many women who don’t have the usual symptoms of heart problems, an evaluation is a good preventive step.

Brushing up on Osteoporosis

As we grow older, it is normal for bone density to deteriorate (usually at a rate of 0.4% per year after the age of 30). Menopause slows down the production of the important bone loss protector, estrogen. Your bones begin to break down faster than they are being constructed at this time.

You can’t stop your bones from losing their mass at menopause. It is a natural process but there are certain things that you can control to prevent osteoporosis at menopause through the lifestyle choices you make every day.

Bones need calcium which can be attained through a healthy diet. Menopausal women are recommended to take in 1,200 milligrams of calcium every day after age 50. This is a lot of calcium! Adjust your diet to maximize the amount of calcium you intake through foods. The food group with the most calcium is the milk, yogurt and cheese group. Learn what recipes can boost your calcium intake.

Talk to your healthcare provider about your bone health at menopause. Tell them if you are taking (or have taken) steroids, thyroid supplements, antacids, seizure medications, diuretics or inhalers for any length of time as they can affect bone health.

Handling the Uneasiness of the Transition

It’s a woman’s world these days and we are fortunate to be living in a time where we no longer have to suffer from menopause in silence and alone. The old, negative, hushed attitudes of menopause have been thrown to the wayside. We are no longer are fed the line, “it’s all in your head”. Through public awareness and modern research, menopause symptoms are taken seriously and considered very real. Advanced and innovative treatments are now available that provide us with the quality healthcare we need to control symptoms and conditions related to menopause.

You no longer need to dig for information. Resources are right at your fingertips so you can now be prepared to clearly ask the important questions to your healthcare provider about your specific symptoms and lay out your treatment options accordingly. If vaginal dryness, sleeplessness or other menopause symptoms are getting in the way of daily life, it’s time to have the important conversation with your peers and/or healthcare provider. Armed with knowledge from friends, family, menopause support groups like Red Hot Mamas and your healthcare provider, you can tackle the uneasiness of the transition. And remember, a woman’s world is one of insight, wisdom, grace and ease. You can learn more about World Menopause Day by visiting www.imsociety.org.

References

Farage, Miranda, Kenneth Miller, and Howard Maibach.Textbook of Aging Skin. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2010.

“A Skewed Sex Ratio.” Demographics of Aging. Transgenerational Design Matters, n.d. Web. 14 Oct 2010. Website.

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