World Bulletin / News Desk
As women go through menopause, they may see a decline in their ability to carry out routine tasks such as climbing stairs and carrying heavy things, according to a U.S. study.
Exactly why is not clear, though extra weight and depression symptoms seemed to account for some of the link, said researchers whose findings were published in the journal Menopause.
"There is definitely a connection between menopause and the physical limitations women perceive themselves as having," said lead researcher Lisa Tseng, a medical student at the University of Pittsburgh.
Tseng said her findings suggest that the physiological changes of menopause play a role. A woman's body composition tends to change with an increase in fat and decrease in muscle mass. With a decline in estrogen, bone mass dips as well.
Men also lose muscle mass and strength as they age, but studies have found that reductions in the strength of women strength seems to speed up around menopause.
The study surveyed more than 2,200 US women in their 40s and 50s. Overall, three-quarters of postmenopausal women had at least moderate physical limitations, whether in the ability to exercise or to accomplish routine tasks.
In contrast, only 10 percent of premenopausal women said the same thing.
Even when Tseng's team factored in age, weight and health conditions like arthritis, depression and diabetes, menopause itself was still linked to a three-fold increase in the odds of physical limitations.
According to Timothy Church, a researcher at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, both men and women lose muscle mass - typically at a rate of 1 to 2 percent per year - after age 50. At the same time, studies show, they become less active.
No one is sure whether the muscle loss or the inactivity typically comes first, but studies show that when postmenopausal women - and older men - get regular exercise, their physical health and mental well-being often improve.
Church and his colleagues have found in their own research that even when women are overweight and sedentary, starting an exercise routine can improve their fitness levels, blood vessel function and sleep quality.
He recommended that women take up both aerobic exercise and some type of weight training. Aerobic exercise can be as simple as walking for 30 minutes most days of the week.
"When we can get these people active, it amazes me how it's not only their physical health that improves. Their quality of life improves," Church said.
MSF is discussing whether to shorten some Ebola assignments from their current duration of four to six weeks
The recent surge in cases, now numbering 32 since the start of October, has been focused in Riyadh and the western city of Taif
The meeting organized by ALBA, a bloc of leftist-governed countries, aims to coordinate a regional strategy on the prevention and control of Ebola
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced his regret that health workers returning from Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa were quarantined.
In a research carried out in the U.S. reveals alarming findings about spending on illicit drugs -over $100 billion
The Township Owl Project takes juvenile birds rescued from perilous situations, such as when a building where they nested in is demolished, and gives them a new home and a new job
The three worst-hit countries of West Africa - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - account for the bulk, recording 4,912 deaths out of 10,114 cases
There are 883 confirmed cases of the deadly virus, out of which 319 people have died since 2012, the WHO says
WHO announces one million doses of Ebola vaccine to be produced in 2015
That pact would aim to improve on two decades of stuttering cooperation and rein in emissions of carbon dioxide blamed for a disruptive rise in temperatures
The World Health Organization last month urged the use of blood-derived products and serum from survivors.
Pentagon rapid-response Ebola medical team was scheduled to begin training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas
Extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB), which is even more expensive and difficult to treat than multi drug-resistant (MDR-TB) strains, has now been reported in 100 countries around the world.
Device can be used in the field without special equipment, according to developers
The technique involved transplanting what are known as olfactory ensheathing cells into the patient's spinal cord and constructing a "nerve bridge" between two stumps of the damaged spinal column.
The meeting in Cuba is aimed at keeping Ebola at bay and it brings together senior officials from the ALBA bloc of nations