The Effects of Menopause on the Body
Hot flushes are one of the most talked about symptoms of menopause, and are the most common, affecting almost 80% of women. For most people, hot flushes will not cause too much distress, and will be over in a short time. For around 20% of women, however, hot flushes will be more severe and will interfere drastically with sleep and quality of life. If your hot flushes are causing ongoing distress, speak to your health care professional.
Some symptoms of menopause may not always be visible. During menopause, research has shown that one’s LDL, or ‘bad’, cholesterol will increase, while their HDL, or ‘good’ cholesterol may decline. By partaking in regular exercise and eating a balanced diet, women in menopause may be able to manage their own cholesterol levels and keep them healthy. It is also recommended to quit smoking, and limit sugary foods, beverages, and red meat.
The hormonal changes that happen during menopause can lead to increased weight gain, particularly around the abdomen. Excessive weight gain during this time can have many negative effects, including a higher risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and some types of cancer. Weight gain during menopause is likely, but you can manage your weight by exercising and ensuring you have a balanced diet. You will also find that you do not need to eat as much as you did at a younger age.
Muscle loss can be one of the reasons you may gain weight during menopause. It is natural and normal for us to lose muscle mass and muscle tone as we age, and menopause is around the time when you may start to notice. Aside from ensuring your protein intake is sufficient, there is not much that can be done about the loss of muscle. Be aware that a loss of muscle will mean a slower metabolism.
If you are struggling with any of the above symptoms of menopause, speak to your health care professional about your options.