Is there a connection between type 2 diabetes and menopause?
Women enter menopause at different ages. There are also women who experience menopause very early. Researchers have now found that women with early menopause are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In their current study, scientists at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam found that women who entered menopause early were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Diabetologia".
Do estrogens protect the body from diabetes?
When women go through their menopause at the age of 40, the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes increases massively. The risk of developing diabetes for such women is almost four times greater than for women who only go into menopause at the age of 55. Apparently, estrogens protect the body from diabetes, the authors speculate.
When does menopause usually start?
Menopause begins on average at the age of 51. At this point, the body stops naturally producing estrogen and other sex hormones, the scientists explain. However, menopause begins in around one in ten women in Britain before the age of 45. One in 100 women go into menopause before their 40th birthday and one in 1,000 women start menopause before the age of 30, the experts from the Netherlands say.
Doctors examine more than 3,600 women for their study
For their study, the scientists examined more than 3,600 postmenopausal women. These participants were medically monitored for a decade. During this time, 348 women developed type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that for each progressive year (above average age) before a woman goes through menopause, the likelihood of type 2 diabetes is reduced by four percent.
What is the risk of type 2 diabetes for women at what age?
When women had menopause before the age of 40, they were 3.7 times more likely to develop diabetes, the Dutch authors explain. If women between the ages of 40 and 44 go into menopause, they have a 2.4 times higher risk. If women experienced their menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, the risk was increased by around 1.6 times.
Does early menopause indicate serious health problems?
Previous studies had already shown that women who enter their menopause early are at increased risk of heart disease. This could also apply to diabetes, the researchers say. However, there is also the possibility that early menopause is due to a deeper problem, such as a defective DNA repair system, which can also lead to diabetes, the experts add. The current results could indicate that the risk of diabetes associated with menopause exists even before menopause begins, the study authors explain. (as)