Everyone knows that menopause can be a difficult thing to deal with. Sleep loss, moodiness, memory problems, hair thinning, urinary incontinence, irregular periods, hot flashes and dry skin are all wonderful side effects of menopause. Aside from all of those side affects, there are five more serious problems to be aware of. Mood swings, osteoporosis, heart disease, breast cancer, and weight gain are some more serious conditions that can develop around the time of menopause.
Mood swings may seem like more of an annoyance then something to be concerned about. While some mood swings are okay and nothing to be too worried about, there are mood swings that can point to signs of more concerning issues, such as anxiety or depression. These can become serious medical problems that could be life threatening. Anti depressants or anxiety pill can be given in cases that are severe enough. It is important to speak to a doctor if you are feeling more anxious or depressed than usual. One idea to help through this difficult time is to keep a journal of how you have been feeling as you go through these changes. To help lighten mood swings you should try to avoid taking on too much and find fun things to do, whatever that may be to you. Many women enjoy joining a support group to be able to relate to other women going through the same thing.
Osteoporosis is the loss of bone density. Estrogen is what helps keep bones strong and healthy. During Menopause estrogen is loss, therefore making your bones more susceptible to damage. It is best to take calcium, 1200mg, around the time of menopause to help prevent bone damage. Exercise as well as a healthy life style is all important to maintaining bone health.
Heart disease may seem the most serious issue, whether talking about menopause or not. It is important to understand that menopause does not cause heart disease, but rather there are certain risks that come up with menopause making heart disease more susceptible. Risks such as a previous or current unhealthy lifestyle such as; drinking, smoking, and being overweight, all play a factor in heart disease. Heart.org states that, “About 35,000 American women under 50 have a heart attack each year, Dr. Goldberg said. An overall increase in heart attacks among women is seen about 10 years after menopause. Heart disease is the leading killer of women.” A decline in estrogen may be one factor that makes heart disease more common after menopause. Doctors say they are still trying to pinpoint the exact reasons for the link. As always with heart disease it is important to exercise, eat healthy, and maintain a healthy weight.
All of the hormonal changes during menopause can lead to weight gain. Hormonal changes are not all to blame though, as your lifestyle, genetics, and the regular aging process all take part. Muscle mass diminishes with age and your metabolism slows down too. WebMD states that, “It may seem that way, especially because gaining weight is so common after menopause. In fact, about 30% of women aged 50 to 59 are not just overweight, but obese.” To maintain a healthy weight it is important to follow a good workout routine, eat and live healthy.
On top of all of that, breast cancer can be a concern as well. Menopause does not cause breast cancer, but all cancers increase risk with age. Some drugs given to help patients with menopause can increase cancers rates. According to WebMD, “Age is the single-most important risk factor for breast cancer. The chances of developing the disease increase with age. About 95% of women diagnosed with breast cancer each year are over age 40, and about half are age 61 and older.” That’s a staggering percent! The best ways to try to prevent breast cancer, again, is to eat healthy, exercise, no smoking, reduce alcohol intake, and maintain a healthy weight. Also, be sure to get your regular screenings!