HRT: Dr Amir discusses Alzheimer’s statistic
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HRT is medication that supplies progesterone and oestrogen to older women who are going through the menopause. It’s the latter hormone, however, that is attributed to numerous health benefits. Appearing on ITV’s Lorraine TV programme, Dr Amir pointed out that oestrogen levels can influence a woman’s body temperature and sleep. Consequently, when a woman’s oestrogen levels begin to dip, it’s understandable why issues with sleep and the onset of hot flushes occurs.
Oestrogen also plays a role in memory and learning, which is why the menopause can also lead to brain fog.
Moreover, Dr Amir said that oestrogen is thought to help protect the brain from a build-up of harmful proteins that are linked to dementia and Parkinson’s.
Dr Amir said: “In general terms, women are twice as likely to develop dementia compares to men here in the UK.”
The doctor added that oestrogen has been show to reduce dementia risk by “50 to 80 percent”, in addition to other neurological conditions.
“The longer you’re on HRT, the less likely you are to develop these conditions,” Dr Amir says of the research cited on Davina McCall’s documentary.
The Alzheimer’s Society concurred that women are more at risk of dementia than men.
“Whilst age is the main risk factor for dementia and women tend to live longer than men, this does not completely explain the difference,” the charity added.
A lack of oestrogen in ageing females is one theory, as oestrogen is the main female sex hormone.
Men, on the other hand, continue to produce testosterone throughout their lives.
The Alzheimer’s Society pointed out: “Testosterone is actually converted into oestrogen inside brain cells.
“This means women who have been through menopause have lower levels of oestrogen in their brain than men of the same age.”
The charity added: “It is possible that oestrogen plays a role in protecting the brain.”
When it comes to HRT, which women use to help relieve unpleasant symptoms of the menopause, the jury is out for how effective it is at reducing dementia risk.
“Studies looking at whether replenishing oestrogen levels using HRT can reduce women’s risk of dementia have been inconclusive and contradictory,” the charity stated.
While some research shows that HRT use reduces the risk of dementia, other studies “found no strong evidence for this”.
Clearly, more research needs to go into this field of study before conclusive results can be reached.
How to reduce dementia risk
The key to reducing your dementia risk as much as possible is to lead a healthy lifestyle.
In order to benefit the brain, you must exercise daily, as it’s one of the best ways to condition the heart, improve circulation, and improve mental wellbeing.
You also need to eat healthily by choosing wholegrain bread, rice and pasta, in addition to lots of fruits, vegetables, and pulses.
Davina McCall’s 2022 documentary Sex, Mind and the Menopause will air on Monday, May 2, on channel 4 at 9pm.
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