Menopause accelerates age-related lung function in women resulting in lung function decline similar to smoking 20 cigarettes a day for an entire decade.
In an European study, the decline in the lung’s forced vital capacity (FVC) was the same as when smoking 20 cigarettes a day over 10 years, and the decline in forced expiratory volume for one second (FEV1) was comparable to smoking 20 cigarettes a day for 2 years. This reduced the working capacity of the lung, causing shortness of breath, and fatigue. A few women may even develop respiratory failure as a result.
Those who used to smoke or currently smoked showed a steeper decline in lung function. Researchers believe that menopause causes hormonal changes which have been linked to systemic inflammation associated with respiratory function decline. Hormonal changes have also been linked to the development of osteoporosis, thus the shortening of the chest vertebrae height may also limit the amount of air a person can inhale with each breath.
Since women are living longer beyond menopause, it is important to maintain their respiratory health long after their menopausal transition. Especially now with the threat of COVID-19, women with pre-existing respiratory illness or decreased respiratory function may be at higher risk of developing more COVID related respiratory complications. Functional Medicine is an effective way to address any respiratory concerns, including those related to hormonal related and menopausal changes. Jeffrey Mark, M.D. is quadruple board certified and experienced in managing hormonal imbalances and uses multiple modalities to optimize your hormones to bring you back to perfect balance. Please contact our office to make an appointment to discuss your concerns further.
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