Women who enter menopause between the ages of 40 and 45 years have increased risk of heart failure, compared with women who enter the phase between age 50 and 54, a gynaecologist has warned.

Women who have reached menopause need engage in regular exercise and control their diet to reduce the risk of heart disease, Dr Adeniji Adewunmi said.

Adewunmi, a consultant and lecturer at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, said menopause was significantly associated with heart failure and that woman who live unhealthy lifestyles risk being victims.

The gynaecologist said that the average age at menopause was 50 years old, but that some women reach menopause at an earlier age.

“Typically, unhealthy lifestyles will make women reach menopause earlier than those who live healthy.

“Menopause, early or late, is always a good time to take more steps to reduce heart disease risk through exercise,  healthy diet, weight loss, and quitting unhealthy habits,” he said.

The consultant noted that most women at menopause were depressed due to the changes their bodies underwent.

According to him, menopause is associated with hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and pains, and as such, women feel depressed.

“Depression is common among women in their menopause due to the hormonal changes in their system.

“The symptoms affect a woman’s quality of life, including not sleeping well at night, interfering with work and leisure activities,” he said.

He said that weight loss as part of a healthy dietary modification, might help eliminate symptoms among menopausal women.

He added that exposure to sunlight played a role to some extent in the prevention of the symptoms that accompany menopause in women.

“Women should form the habit of walking under the sun for at least 15 minutes daily to get vitamin D produced by sunlight.

“Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, maintain healthy and stronger bones, improves mood, increases hormone performance, and prevents heart disease,” he told NAN.

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