Asthma risks ‘double’ during menopause

Women who go through the menopause have nearly double the risk of suffering respiratory diseases such as asthma, but could protect themselves by taking HRT, research suggests.

Rates of asthma were found to nearly double in menopausal women compared with normally menstruating women, an effect attributed to falling oestrogen levels during and after the menopause.

The studies, presented yesterday to the annual Congress of the European Respiratory Society in Stockholm, are the first to show that the hormone has an important role to play in lung protection and repair. Problems with breathing and reduced lung function were particularly pronounced for those women who were very thin or overweight.

Although the exact protective role of oestrogen is not yet known, the findings suggest that women who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may avoid some of the problems.

Francisco Gomez Real from the University of Bergen, Norway, who led the research, said: “Women who have not menstruated in more than six months have more respiratory symptoms and lower lung function.” This can be explained by the fact that although oestrogen is reduced in all women following menopause, thinner women have the lowest amounts.

Source - Times

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