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Diseases associated with aging in women are difficult to [#permalink]
24 Jun 2007, 04:28
Diseases associated with aging in women
are difficult to correlate explicitly with
estrogen deficiency because aging and
genetics are important influences in the
development of such diseases. A number
of studies, however, indicate a profound
effect of estrogen deficiency in syndromes
such as cardiovascular disease (including
atherosclerosis and stroke) and os-
teoporosis--the loss and increasing
fragility of bone in aging individuals.
The amount of bone in the elderly
skeleton--a key determinant in its
susceptibility to fractures--is believed to be a function of two major factors. The
first is the peak amount of bone mass
attained, determined to a large extent by
genetic inheritance. The marked effect of
gender is obvious--elderly men experi-
ence only one-half as many hip fractures
per capita as elderly women. However,
African-American women have a lower
incidence of osteoporotic fractures than
Caucasian women. Other important variables include diet, exposure to
sunlight, and physical activity. The
second major factor is the rate of bone
loss after peak bone mass has been
attained. While many of the variables
that affect peak bone mass also affect
rates of bone loss, additional factors
influencing bone loss include physiologi-
cal stresses such as pregnancy and
lactation. It is hormonal status, however,
reflected primarily by estrogen and
progesterone levels, that may exert the
greatest effect on rates of decline in
It can be inferred from the passage that the peak amount of bone mass in women
a. is not affected by either pregnancy or lactation.
b. is determined primarily by diet.
c. depends partly upon hormonal status.
d. may play a role in determining the rate of decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels.