Reducing Your Risk of Complications Associated With Menopause
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.
Eat a Healthful Diet
A healthful diet can 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 to 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 can also help the body absorb calcium. It is found in sunlight and foods like fortified milk, liver, and tuna.
Limit Caffeine and Alcohol
Cutting back on caffeine may ease anxiety and sleep problems. Limiting alcohol can also help.
Giving up smoking can lower the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and some cancers, such as lung and cervical cancer. There are medicines and tools that can help a woman quit, such as nicotine patches and gums. Support groups and 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 like walking, climbing stairs, and lifting weights help to strengthen bones and lower the risk of osteoporosis.
Relaxation methods can help a woman cope with stress. Some ways to do this are medicine, deep breathing, yoga, and biofeedback.
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- Menopause 101: A primer for the perimenopausal. North American Menopause Society website. Available at: http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/menopause-symptoms-and-treatments/menopause-101-a-primer-for-the-perimenopausal.
- Menopause. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/menopause.
- Menopause. Planned Parenthood website. Available at: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/health-and-wellness/menopause.
- Menopause basics. Office on Women's Health website. Available at: https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-basics.
- Elizabeth Margaret Prusak, MD
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