(RxWiki News) Biological changes can have a significant impact on physical health not only after menopause, but also in the years leading up to it, a new study found.
Key risk factors for heart disease, stroke and diabetes appear to increase faster in the years leading up to menopause than after, according to this study.
These key risk factors, known collectively as metabolic syndrome, include high triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood), low HDL ("good") cholesterol, a large waistline, high blood pressure and high blood sugar (fasting).
This study included 1,470 African-American and white women over a 10-year period. Although the change in key risk factors before menopause was observed across participants, the change was more noticeable in African-American women.
These results support previous studies that found that African-American women may face a greater risk than white women for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Lead study author Dr. Mark DeBoer said he believes these results provide healthcare providers with a chance to lower health risks for women by encouraging lifestyle changes in the several years leading up to menopause.
The study authors did note that further research is needed find out whether changes in diet and exercise or the addition of medication could lower disease risk.
This study was recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
The National Institutes of Health supported this research. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.