Increased fat distribution during menopause has long been shown to increase insulin resistance and the risk of diabetes. A new study based on data from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) shows that being metabolically unhealthy increases the risk of diabetes, even in women of normal weight.
As women age and transition through menopause, the prevalence of diabetes increases. More specifically, postmenopausal women who have increased abdominal fat are at risk for type 2 diabetes because of the development of insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.
Recent studies have suggested that even women of normal weight may be at increased risk of diabetes if they are metabolically unhealthy. Metabolic health is based on the combined levels of blood sugar, triglycerides and HDL (good) cholesterol, as well as blood pressure and waist circumference.
In this newest study, researchers sought to determine the relationship between various metabolic weight categories and diabetes risk in the postmenopausal women who participated in the WHI. They concluded that metabolically unhealthy women of normal weight, as well as metabolically healthy women who are overweight, had about a two-fold increased risk for developing diabetes.
This confirmed that even women of normal weight could be at risk for diabetes, depending on their metabolic health. In comparison, women who were metabolically unhealthy and overweight were four times more likely to develop the disease.
Source: Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society, February 26, 2020.
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