Metabolic Syndrome in Menopause

Metabolic Syndrome in Menopause

The prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome in Menopause are unknown to many yet the high risk of cardiovascular diseases are known to cause series of heart conditions, diabetes type 2, etc.

What is Metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of biochemical and physiological abnormalities. It is the name for group of risk factors as the condition listed below:

* A large waistline in abdominal obesity or having ‘apple shape’. Excess fat in the stomach is greater risk factor for heart disease than excess fat in other parts of the body such as thigh or hips. A waist measurement of more than 35 inches around (more than 4o inches in men).

* High blood pressure at or above 130mm Hg systolic (the top no. or 85 mm Hg diastolic (the bottom no) or you’re on medication to treat high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage your heart and lead to plaque buildup.

* Fasting blood glucose level of 100mg/dL or higher or you’re already taking medication for high blood glucose levels. Mildly high blood sugar may be an early sign of diabetes.

* A triglyceride level of above 150mg/dL (or you’re on medication to treat high triglycerides). Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood.

* A low HDL cholesterol level below 50mg/dL (or you’re on medicaction to treat low HDL cholesterol). HDL sometimes is called “good” cholesterol. This is because it helps remove cholesterol from your arteries. A low HDL cholesterol level raises your risk for heart disease.

Any 3 of the risk factor above falls into what is called metabolic syndrome.
Studies shows that having even one of the risk factor raises risk of heart diseases.

Metabolic Syndrome is closely linked to overweight and obesity and a lack of physical activity. Insulin resistance

Genetics (ethnicity and family history) and older age are other factors that may play a role in causing metabolic syndrome.

Menopause represent a period of accelerated physical, physiological, and neuroendocrine imbalance in women. These adverse changes occurs due to the response to altered hormonal environment.

Effects of Mind Body Therapies on Metabolic Syndrome:

  • Food as Medicine – Avoid refined packed foods. Fresh organic seasonal food are best.
    Learning and understanding your own body type, blood type, activities etc must be  integrated when it comes to food choices. If you are eating out of habit rather than health needs and requirement, it’s time to make best choices that keeps you healthy not just fit.
  • Yoga – originated in India at least 4,000 years ago, yoga is a traditional mind-body discipline that has been successfully used in india for prevention and management of hypertension, diabetes and related chronic insulin resistance conditions associated with aging. 94,96,97  Other research suggest yoga therapy maybe effective on psychosocial risk factor for CVD in both healthy adults and those with chronic disorder.Yoga’s rapidly increasing popularity in western industrialized world, coupled with numerous recent studies suggesting that yoga based programs may improve CVD risk profiles in older adults, indicates that yoga may represent a promising intervention for postmenopausal women at risk for CVD and related chronic disorder.
  • Tai Chi – A growing body of research from both Western and Eastern countries offers evidence that the practice of tai chi may also lower CVD risk in older adults.143,145,171More limited data from both controlled151,175,178,181,182 and uncontrolled studies 183    in older American151,178 and Asian populations175,181,183,184 suggest that tai chi practice may also improve lipid profiles,175,183 reduce body mass index,178 enhance endothelial function,181 lower heart rate175,178 and other markers of sympathetic activation,151,182,184 and improve cardiovagal function.151,184 Findings from a recent pre-post investigation in Taiwan suggest that tai chi may also decrease glycated hemoglobin and fasting glucose levels in adults with type 2 diabetes.185
  • Qigong and CVD Risk – Recent studies from China, Korea, Japan, Sweden and United States suggest that qigong may also help to reduced CVD risk in both healthy and chronically ill populations 102,137,156158. For example recent controlled trials in Chinese, Korean adults with hyspertension or CVD suggest that Qigong practices may decrease blood pressure, 100,135,137,159163  lower fasting cholesterol, 162 and triglyceride levels159,160 and increase high-density lipoprotein concentrations relative to usual care or waitlist controls135,159161 and baseline values.159,162
  • 103 patients were recruited from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and surrounding community.
  • All participants suffered from CHD and had undergone myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass surgery, angiography, or angioplasty.
  • Participants were randomized to 16 weeks of TM or health education (HE).
  • This was performed via computerized program.
  • Participants were grouped according to age and low density lipoprotein levels and assigned to treatment program accordingly.
  • Once a group was randomized, a new group was be assigned the intervention.
  • Data was collected and analyzed.
  • Study entry and exit involved an overnight fast followed by medical history evaluation including physical activity level, cardiac risk factors, medical assessment, blood sampling, psychosocial variables, BART, medication assessment, Hotler monitoring of HRV.
  • Class attendance and self-reported compliance were used for compliance of TM and HE programs.


  • Of the 103 participants, 84 completed the study.
  • Compliance was 97% for TM and 88% for HE.
  • There were no reported changes in life stress levels for both groups.
  • Adjusted blood pressure, cardiac autonomic nervous system, insulin resistance showed beneficial changes in the TM group.
  • Thus, TM can adapt physiological response to stress through neuro-humoral activation and hence prove to be a therapeutic target for CHD treatment.

Conclusions  Use of TM for 16 weeks in CHD patients improved blood pressure and insulin resistance components of the metabolic syndrome as well as cardiac autonomic nervous system tone compared with a control group receiving health education. These results suggest that TM may modulate the physiological response to stress and improve CHD risk factors, which may be a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of CHD.

Author: Estelita Pearce


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