In the United States, about 67 percent of patients with Alzheimer’s disease are women.
Alzheimer’s disease is a growing concern for both women and men as they get older. You may know of someone who is suffering from Alzheimer’s and it is hard to watch them lose their memory. It is a very sad and scary disease.
We all want to do everything we can to protect our mental function as we age. It’s well known that staying active, eating healthy, and doing crossword puzzles to help keep your mind sharp can help protect your brain. However, there is another factor to consider.
Ladies, if you’ve entered menopause, then you know how important it is to restore your estrogen levels to normal to ward off those miserable hot flashes and night sweats. If you’ve experienced anxiety, insomnia, fluid retention or migraines, then you know the benefits of restoring your progesterone levels to normal, as well.
Well, now you have another compelling reason to make sure you have optimal estrogen and progesterone levels during menopause. According to a new research study from Weill Cornell Medicine investigators, the hormonal changes that occur in menopause can increase the risk of brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
The study, published on June 24th in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, found that women in mid-life had 30 percent more Alzheimer’s-related plaques than men of the same age. Women also had 22 percent lower brain glucose metabolism, meaning lower energy levels in the brain, and about 11 percent more brain shrinkage. These brain biomarkers were associated with menopause, when the ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
“We may need to start thinking about reducing the potential risks for Alzheimer’s disease in female patients at 40 or 50 years old, not 70,” said senior author Dr. Lisa Mosconi, director of the Women’s Brain Initiative and an associate professor of neuroscience in neurology and of neuroscience in radiology at Weill Cornell Medicine.
Dr. Mosconi also made the point that few people associate menopause with the brain, but that about 80% of women in menopause experience symptoms such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, or memory loss. We know this to be true, as many women have a feeling of brain fog and experience depressed moods, anxiety and decreased mental sharpness as their hormones decline and fall out of balance.
This research study included a group of 121 middle-aged people – 85 women and 36 men – without symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, but who had some risk factors for the disease. The team performed MRIs and PET brain scans to detect biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s.
After discovering that women had more brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease than men, the researchers used statistical analysis to identify which risk factors, including age, years of education, cholesterol levels, smoking, diet, exercise levels, diabetes, menopause, hormonal therapy and hysterectomy, among others, may be responsible. “Menopause was the number one predictor of Alzheimer’s changes in women’s brains,” Dr. Mosconi said.
The research also showed that women who were taking hormone therapy had fewer negative brain changes than those not taking hormones.
How do you know if you are in menopause?
As women age, their naturally occurring sex hormones decline and often lead to numerous symptoms. Many women will tell you that they began noticing negative changes in their health as they entered their 30s and 40s.
Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop making estrogen, marking the end of a woman’s reproductive period. The average age of onset for perimenopause is 47.5 years and most women spend one-third to half of their life in post menopause. Menopause can also occur when the ovaries are surgically removed or stop functioning, such as after a hysterectomy or tubal ligation.
- Weight gain
- Night sweats
- Brain fog
- Hot flashes
- Loss of libido
Take charge of your health today so that you can live a healthy life and decrease your chances of developing disease. You are worth it.
WE CAN HELP
Take our symptom checker to find out if you have symptoms of hormone decline.
The natural way to treat the symptoms of hormone decline that occur during menopause is to replenish the estrogen and progesterone (and even testosterone) that your body is missing with bioidentical hormones which are identical to the hormones made by the human body.
At Hotze Health & Wellness Center, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of menopause symptoms. Our doctors are experienced at dosing your hormones according to your individual needs to ensure your optimal health. Contact a wellness consultant today at 281-698-8698 for a complimentary consultation. It will be our privilege to serve you.