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Does weight gain after menopause increase health risks?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Weight gain, especially around the abdomen, can increase the risk of many illnesses including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. Some studies show that gaining even very small amounts, like 4 or 5 pounds, can increase the chance of breast cancer by as much as 30 percent.

Menopausal symptoms vary with every woman. Due to lessening hormone levels and the natural aging process, many women gain weight following menopause, which can result in health issues such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and insulin resistance. In addition, breast cancer risk goes up with weight gain, and women who gain more than 20 pounds after menopause increase breast cancer risk by 20 percent. Here is the good news: when women lose weight after menopause, your risk for breast cancer goes down.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.