According to scientists, by 2025 every second woman will cross the age of 45. This milestone in life is associated with natural physiological changes. From about the age of 35, the reproductive function gradually fades, and after 45-50, the hormonal status changes. This is a natural process that is programmed genetically. However, sometimes the pace of aging is accelerated. Let’s see why this happens and what to do.
What is premature aging?
Aging can be physiological and premature:
• physiological aging is associated with the natural onset and subsequent development of age-related changes;
• Premature aging is a process that accelerates aging and can affect any woman in her 40s and 50s.
Earlier age-related changes can adversely affect the work of various organs and their systems. Premature aging is a complex problem that requires careful diagnosis and an integrated approach to treatment. This condition can be caused by a combination of various reasons, including adverse living conditions, stress, various diseases, hormonal disorders. So, one of the possible reasons is the lack of estrogen and the associated early menopause.
Menopause is a period in the life of every woman, during which the menstrual cycle completely stops as a result of a gradual decrease in ovarian follicular activity. The ovaries produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which affect the menstrual cycle and ovulation. Menopause is reflected in the well-being and condition of the skin. A woman may experience mood swings, fatigue, joint pain, menstruation becomes irregular, and libido decreases.
Among the causes of premature menopause are genetics, autoimmune processes, infections, certain medications, environmental factors, bad habits.
According to a study by scientists from the University of Queensled (Australia), women who entered the menopause period prematurely were three times more likely to experience the simultaneous occurrence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases.
The most “female” hormones, estrogens, are responsible for the condition of our skin. Estrogens activate the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid, stimulating the work and reproduction of cells. It is thanks to estrogens that our skin receives the necessary hydration and protection against aging.
If estrogen levels decrease, then you can replace the following changes:
• the appearance of wrinkles on the face, neck, decollete;
• formation of spider veins;
• sagging, thinning, peeling of the skin;
• disruption of the sebaceous glands;
• development of acne;
• formation of age spots;
• the appearance of coarse hairs on the face.
Bone health. Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by progressive loss of bone density, which can lead to fractures. Estrogen plays an important role in maintaining bone density. When its level drops, bone loss accelerates.
Cardiovascular diseases. With age, the likelihood of developing cardiovascular diseases gradually increases. The basis of the pathology of the cardiovascular system is atherosclerosis. The likelihood of its occurrence increases, including due to the lack of estrogens, which protect our cardiovascular system.
Diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body is unable to use it normally. The risk of developing diabetes may increase due to hormonal changes in the body, lack of estrogen, hypertension, high cholesterol, overweight.
What to do?
If you notice premature age-related changes, contact a gynecologist-endocrinologist. The doctor will conduct all the necessary examinations and prescribe treatment.
With premature menopause and associated premature aging, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be prescribed. The goal of prescribing hormone therapy is to compensate for reduced ovarian function in hormonal deficiency with the help of minimal doses of the drug. HRT provides an effective treatment for menopausal symptoms, helps maintain good health, and may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The decision on the possibility and necessity of using HRT for the treatment and prevention of premature effort can only be made by a specialist.
Here are more tips on how to feel better during a period when your health requires special attention.
· Do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week.
· Eat a balanced diet. Include legumes, nuts, and whole grains in your diet. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Reduce your intake of salt, sugar, and saturated fats. Drink water to stay hydrated.
Give up bad habits. If you smoke, it’s time to quit. Alcohol use is associated with risks of cardiovascular and other diseases.
Find time to relax, get enough sleep, walk more.