Menopausal status may better predict blood vessel health in women than fitness level

August 14, 2017

High physical fitness is known to be related to enhanced blood vessel dilation and blood flow (endothelial function) in aging men. However, for women, endothelial function and the effect of exercise may be related more to menopausal status than fitness. Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst will present their findings today at the Cardiovascular Aging: New Frontiers and Old Friends conference in Westminster, Colo.

The risk of heart disease increases with age in women, especially after menopause. Researchers studied healthy peri- and who were regularly active and highly fit as well as women who did not exercise regularly and had relatively low levels of to determine whether fitness and/or menopause affect vessel function. Endothelial dysfunction (low blood vessel reactivity) is considered an early indicator of cardiovascular disease risk. To investigate the endothelial response to exercise, the research team measured flow-mediated dilation (FMD)—a test that measures how blood vessels respond to increased blood flow—before and after participants completed 30 minutes of exercise on a treadmill.

Perimenopausal women had higher FMD, and their dilated faster—indicating better —compared with postmenopausal women, when both aerobic fitness groups were combined. Before 30 minutes of treadmill exercise, low and highly fit women had similar FMD. However, after exercise, low-fit women had higher FMD than highly fit women. The researchers also found that when they separated these results by menopausal status, after exercise, low-fit perimenopausal women had the greatest FMD response. These results suggest that low-fit women, particularly those in their perimenopausal years, may benefit from the vascular benefits of exercise. Investigators believe that in light of the data showing little vascular responsiveness in highly fit women and the preliminary nature of the findings, additional research is needed to learn more about the relationship between menopause, regular physical activity and cardiovascular aging.

Explore further: Interval workouts for older women may improve health of blood vessels

Related Stories

Interval workouts for older women may improve health of blood vessels

August 9, 2017
Short bouts of interval exercise may be most beneficial for older women at increased risk of heart-related illness, according to new University of Leeds research.

Study of early onset menopausal symptoms could predict heart disease

September 28, 2016
Women who experience hot flashes and night sweats earlier in life are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease (CVD) when compared to women with later onset menopausal symptoms, according to research from the University ...

Hot flashes could signal increased risk of heart disease

April 12, 2017
Hot flashes, one of the most common symptoms of menopause, have already been shown to interfere with a woman's overall quality of life. A new study shows that, particularly for younger midlife women (age 40-53 years), frequent ...

Never too late: Reaping the benefits of exercise in early postmenopause

February 25, 2017
Women recently postmenopause have similar or improved benefits from physical activity, in terms of muscle and blood vessel function, as those premenopause. Therefore, early postmenopause might be a time when women can gain ...

Minimal exercise can prevent disease, weight gain in menopausal women

October 18, 2016
Past research has indicated that metabolic function is critical for women to prevent cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes after they reach menopause. Now, according to new research from the University of Missouri, ...

Post-menopausal? give exercise a try

February 16, 2017
(HealthDay)—After menopause, moderate exercise can help women manage hot flashes, become more fit and feel better, a new study suggests.

Recommended for you

Gulf spill oil dispersants associated with health symptoms in cleanup workers

September 19, 2017
Workers who were likely exposed to dispersants while cleaning up the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill experienced a range of health symptoms including cough and wheeze, and skin and eye irritation, according to scientists ...

India has avoided 1 million child deaths since 2005, new study concludes

September 19, 2017
India has avoided about 1 million deaths of children under age five since 2005, driven by significant reductions in mortality from pneumonia, diarrhea, tetanus and measles, according to new research published today.

Study suggests link between youth football and later-life emotional, behavioral impairment

September 19, 2017
A new study has found an association between participation in youth tackle football before age 12 and impaired mood and behavior later in life. The study appears in Nature's Translational Psychiatry.

Self-confidence affected by teammates, study finds

September 19, 2017
A person's confidence in their own ability varies significantly depending on who is in their team, according to new research from the University of Stirling.

Video game boosts sex health IQ and attitudes in minority teens

September 18, 2017
A videogame designed by Yale researchers to promote health and reduce risky behavior in teens improves sexual health knowledge and attitudes among minority youth, according to a new study. The findings validate the value ...

Two Americas: Seniors are getting healthier but most gains go to high-income whites

September 18, 2017
Older Americans report feeling dramatically healthier than they did 14 years ago but that good health isn't evenly distributed, with much of the gain going to the wealthiest, most highly educated and whites.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.