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Exercise and low-calorie diet can cut stroke risk in menopausal women

Oct 29, 2018

Middle-aged women transitioning to menopause may be able to lower their risk of developing stroke, heart disease and Type-2 diabetes if they exercise more or eat a low calorie diet, suggests research. The study showed that physically active women were less likely to get incidents of metabolic syndrome than inactive women.

Metabolic syndrome describes a cluster of risk factors that increase the chances of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Genetic factors, excess body fat, and lack of exercise can add to its development.

Patients with metabolic syndrome are diagnosed when they have three or more of these risk factors — large amount of abdominal body fat, low (“good”) cholesterol, high levels of fat in the blood, high blood pressure, and high blood glucose.

“Previous studies have largely focused on cardiovascular disease and Type-2 diabetes in postmenopausal women. This study is unique because it focuses on an earlier stage in women’s lives, the menopausal transition in midlife, to potentially prevent such diseases from occurring,” said Jennifer S. Lee, Associate Professor at the Stanford Health Care in the US.

For the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers examined 3,003 midlife women undergoing the transition to menopause. They identified patterns of cardiometabolic risk and found central obesity to be the most common factor for causing metabolic syndrome.

“Discovering which modifiable factors like physical activity and a lower calorie diet are more common in midlife women who recover from metabolic syndrome, in this study, could better inform what preventive strategies to consider in women earlier in their lives,” Lee noted.

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