A new study from the National Academy of Sciences revealed that menopause is connected to early aging. Some of the menopause symptoms include insomnia, hot flashes, sweating at night. And even though it’s a natural life stage, experts have more unwanted news.
Apparently, menopause hastens the aging process for women.
To compile the report, scientists from the UCLA documented the changes of DNA in women going through menopause, to decide whether the body’s biological age was the same as their actual, chronological age.
Research revealed that the earlier a woman enters menopause, the more her biological age increases. Eight years of menopause add one year to the biological age, according to lead author, Professor Steve Horvath.
The team led by Horvath observed DNA samples from 3,000 women in four big, long-term studies. They recorded the biological age of blood cells, saliva cells, and cells from inside the cheek.
Findings pointed to the conclusion that menopause sped up the aging of cells by six percent on average.
In other words, a woman who enters early menopause at 42, in eight years’ time she’ll be one biological year older than a 50-year-old woman, who entered menopause at the age of 50.
Although it is not a dramatic effect, it shows that women who enter early menopause have a slightly increased risk of dying early.
Until now, it wasn’t clear whether menopause brings accelerated aging, or if quick aging caused menopause. Now, scientists confirmed the first hypothesis.
Another example is when women go through a “surgical menopause” if they have their ovaries removed. This type of surgery is sometimes necessary if the ovaries have radiation or cancer damage.
By analyzing the blood of these women, who went through “surgical menopause”, scientists have found that their blood was biologically older than the blood of women who had menopause naturally.
So far, the study cannot conclude if insomnia increases biological age or not, but most of the results are “powerful findings,” which could lead to better medical treatments for women. Further research needs to be done, so scientists can see what kind of relationship exists between aging and sleep disorders.
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