Reducing Your Risk of Complications Associated With Menopause
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
There are steps women can take to lower the risk of the health problems that are linked to estrogen loss, such as osteoporosis and heart disease. Here are some ways women can lower the risk:
A healthful diet can help a woman's sense of well-being. It may also lower the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and some cancers. It should be low in saturated fat and high in fruits, veggies, and grains. Getting enough calcium (1,200-1,500 mg per day) can also help lower the risk of osteoporosis. Some sources are low-fat calcium-rich dairy foods, leafy green veggies, and calcium-fortified foods and juices. Vitamin D, found in sunlight and certain foods like fortified milk, liver, and tuna, will also help the body absorb calcium.
Cutting back on caffeine may ease symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. Women should also limit alcohol to 1 drink a day.
Giving up smoking can lower the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and many types of cancer, such as lung and cervical cancer. There are medicines and smoking cessation aids that can help a woman quit, such as nicotine patches and gums. Support groups and smoking cessation classes can also help. The programs that work best use a mix of behavior changes and medicines.
Regular exercise can help ease many symptoms. It helps improve sleep, creates feelings of well-being, and may ease hot flashes. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, climbing stairs, and lifting weights help to strengthen bones and lower the risk of osteoporosis.
Relaxation techniques can help a woman cope with stress. Some ways to do this are medicine, deep breathing, progressive relaxation, yoga, and biofeedback.
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Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Elliot M. Levine, MD, FACOG
Last Updated: 3/16/2021
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