Conference Report From the 10th World Congress on the Menopause

Professor Lorraine Dennerstein, AO MBBS, PHD, DPM, FRANZCP


July 03, 2002

In This Article

Effects of Lifestyle and Hormones on Cardiovascular Risk Factors

In the session on the natural menopausal transition and women's health, Dr. Janet Guthrie of the Office for Gender and Health, The University of Melbourne, used data from the Melbourne project to demonstrate effects of lifestyle and hormone factors on cardiovascular risk factors and bone mineral density (BMD).[4] Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) was found to increase with increasing age and increasing body mass index (BMI). High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) was found to decrease with increasing age, increasing BMI, and smoking. HDL-C increased with increasing alcohol and exercise. Triglycerides increased with age, BMI, and smoking. When effects of endogenous change in hormones were analyzed, using generalized estimating equations, the androgens were shown to have some effect. Increasing free testosterone index (FTI) increased triglycerides and diastolic blood pressure and was associated with higher levels of central abdominal fat.

Thus, for clinicians, the major focus for reducing cardiovascular risk factors remains that of lifestyle factors. Reducing weight, increasing exercise, and cessation of smoking will all have favorable effects. The American College of Sports Medicine makes the following recommendations for cardiovascular fitness: aerobic exercise of walking, running, swimming, or cycling for 20 to 60 minutes, 3 to 5 days a week.[22,23]


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