Elderly's health

Risk of Dementia in Women: earlier hypertension and menopausal hormone



Earlier hypertension at age of forties is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s among women, but not for men. There could be some devastating effect of high blood pressure on the brain, even though it is not shown in the earlier age. But why not in men.

We know that gender of female is the second major risk factor for Alzheimer’s, with age being the number one risk factor. Before menopausal the estrogen seems to have some protective roles on the brain cells. After menopausal, there is metabolic change in the brain cells with brain hypometabolism on glucose and reductions in mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase (COX) activity. The imaging studies have shown there is a gradient effect such that bioenergetic abnormalities were most pronounced in postmenopausal women.

HRT protective for brain

For the postmenopausal females who underwent hormone replacement therapy for other reasons such as hot flushes, insomnia, vaginal dryness or mood swing, there are potential protective effect on the brain cells with HRT treatment.

Medicine is all about evaluation of risk versus benefit. So that smart doctors know how to put everything together and get the most benefit and meanwhile minimize the risk. For example, NSAID is necessary for some pains but meanwhile the side effect on gastric mucosa and cardiovascular risk have to be evaluated. Natural phytoestrogens will be discussed in another article.

Progesterone in HRT

Here to put the long sentence short, most postmenopausal females’s progesterone levels are also low even relatively lower, and the ratio of estrogen/progesterone has to maintain at a healthy level. Regarding the symptoms of lowered progesterone, refer my article fibrous vegetables and starchy vegetables.

There are some potential treatments available for memory loss. Recent studies showed that curcumin can be beneficial for the prevention and/or treatment of Alzherimer’s. Chinese herbs with AChE inhibitor effects can do good to the memory loss. Allium and astragalus are also in the list. The treatment should be based on individual assessment and evaluation including interaction with the medications.