Archive for September, 2007

In the News: Work related stress and long hours can bring an earlier menopause

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Although the average age in the U.K. for the menopause – defined as the time when periods have stopped for 12 months – is 52, 1 percent of British women go through it before they reach 40.

Research carried out at Versailles University which looked at the health and lifestyle of more than 1,500 women in their 50s suggests that working long hours in a stressful job can hasten the onset of the menopause by at least a year. Experts believe that the strain of long hours or a demanding job can affect a woman’s reproductive health.

The Versailles study found that those who worked at least 48 hours a week were more likely than those doing shorter hours to go through the menopause before the average age of 52. For those with stressful jobs in which they felt constant pressure to rush, do several things at once and were frequently interrupted when carrying out tasks, menopause tended to hit at 51. In women who were suffering from depression, the effects of long working days were even greater. They were twice as likely to go through the menopause before they reached 52.

This warning comes just a few weeks after another study showed that pregnant women who work for long hours increase their risk of miscarriage. The study of more than 7,000 expectant nurses found that those who worked more than 40 hours a week were 50 percent more likely to miscarry. Additional research indicates that work related stress can also lead to irregular periods or periods stopping earlier than normal. On the other hand a good education and having a less stressful repetitive job delayed the onset of the menopause.

All these findings come as more and more women delay motherhood, with almost half of the 720,000 births each year in Britain being to women aged 30-plus. Smoking has also been found to have a big effect, with those who smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day going through the menopause at the age of 50, according to a recent report in the American Journal of Epidemiology. It is thought that long hours and stress affect levels of hormones key to a woman’s reproductive cycle, while smoking causes the eggs to deteriorate more quickly than normal. Genetics also play a large role in the timing of the menopause, with many women experiencing it at a similar age to their mother and sisters.

In the News: The dangers of eating grapefruit

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

For years we’ve been told that eating grapefruit was a healthy choice for breakfast and for those who want to lose weight but a new study has suggested that eating grapefruit can increase the risk of breast cancer.

It is thought that the fruit boosts blood levels of oestrogen, the hormone associated with the risk of the disease. According to the research carried out by the universities of Southern California and Hawaii and based on more than 50,000 post menopausal women from five ethnic groups, including 1,657 with breast cancer and published in the British Journal of Cancer, eating as little as a quarter of grapefruit a day can raise the danger by 30 per cent for older women.

It’s important to bear in mind that many lifestyle factors contribute to breast cancer risk. Earlier this year it was revealed that just one alcoholic drink a day may increase your risk by 9 per cent. A major European study also recently showed that eating junk food raises a woman’s risk of developing a range of cancers. And older women with the fattiest diets have a 15 per cent increase in their chances of developing beast cancer according to a separate US study.

Also bear in mind that other studies have suggested that grapefruit has anti cancer properties and may play a role in weight management. It’s also high in fibre which is good for your digestive health and vitamin C which is good for boosting your immunity. The key, as with everything in life, is moderation. You could still have grapefruit once a week and have other choices for breakfast the rest of the week.

In the News: Yo-Yo dieting can increase risk of kidney disease

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Yo-yo dieting, also known as weight cycling, is a repeated loss and gain of body weight due to excessive dieting, but new research shows that it can more than double the risk of kidney cancer.

Researchers from the University of California who reported their research in the American Journal of Epidemiology in June 200 7 followed 140,057 women aged between 50 and 79 for almost eight years to study the consequences of yo-yo dieting and compared women of average waist size to those with the large waistlines. The study found that ‘weight cycling’, along with a large waistline pose an even higher risk in the development of kidney cancer in older women than just obesity.

According to the study women whose weight fluctuates by more than 10 lbs or 4.5 kg on more than 10 occasions were more likely to develop kidney cancer than women whose weight remained stable. The researchers also found it was safer for women to gain weight steadily as they grew older than to lose weight and keep it that way through strict dieting. Women who did this were found to have a 60 per cent increased risk of developing the cancer.

The authors suggest that there may be a connection between yo-yo dieting, large waistlines and kidney cancer and point out earlier studies that have already linked weight cycling to increased incidence of obesity and high blood pressure, other risk factors for kidney cancer. They also suggested that frequent weight fluctuations might lead to kidney damage by stirring up metabolic or functional changes that increase cancer susceptibility.