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Menopause represents the end of menstruation , usually confirmed when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months, in the absence of any other obvious cause. Menopause is not a disease, but a natural event - the end of fertility - resulting from the ovaries ' decreased production of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone .
Several terms are used to describe the menopause experience and they are defined below:
In the Western world, a majority of women experience natural menopause between the ages of 45 and 55 - on average at about age 51. Some women reach menopause earlier (in their 40s or even their 30s) and a few, in their 60s.
Changes, sometimes called symptoms even though menopause is not a disease, changes during perimenopause are perfectly normal and natural, but they signal a need for a medical examination. Some of the typical perimenopausal changes include:
The bodily changes associated with menopause may also pose health risks for certain women. The major problems associated with menopause are Osteoporosis and Cardiovascular disease .
1. Cardiovascular disease . Women tend to think
of heart disease as a "man's disease." In reality, while a man's risk
of heart disease increases after age 45, women are also at risk - after
the age of 55. Women who have heart attacks are twice as likely as men
to die from them. Heart disease is the number-one killer of women in North
America. In fact, after age 50, more than half of all deaths in women
are due to some form of cardiovascular disease. Many more women die from
heart disease than from breast cancer.
2. Osteoporosis is
a disease characterized by decreased bone density. When the bones lose
density, they become porous and fragile - leading to an increased risk
of fracture, particularly in the hip and spine. There are many factors
that affect a woman's risk for developing osteoporosis, but one of the
most significant is menopause.
After menopause, several forms of estrogen
replacement therapy (ERT) are effective in preventing osteoporosis
and - if osteoporosis has been diagnosed - restoring some of the bone
loss. Estrogen is approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration for
both osteoporosis prevention and treatment.
For further, more detailed information on this topic, please refer to the reference source for this page.
The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken
from the following source(s):
|http://www.hon.ch/Dossier/MotherChild/female_repro/menopause.html||Last modified: Jun 25 2002|