Link between reproductive life span and postmenopausal muscle mass | Image Credit: © InsideCreativeHouse - © InsideCreativeHouse - stock.adobe.com.
A shorter reproductive life span may be associated with a decline in muscle mass measured by handgrip strength, according to a recent study published in Menopause, the journal of The Menopause Society.
- The study suggests that a shorter reproductive life span, determined by age at menarche and menopause, may be associated with a decline in muscle mass, measured through handgrip strength.
- Menarche and menopause play a role in the aging process for women, with postmenopausal women reportedly experiencing a muscle mass loss of 0.6% per year.
- Sarcopenia, characterized by declining skeletal mass and function, is part of the aging process. The article highlights that by 2045, an estimated 72.4% of individuals over 65 years will be affected by sarcopenia, leading to various adverse health outcomes.
- Handgrip strength is suggested as a potential indicator for sarcopenia. The study, involving over 2300 postmenopausal women aged 45 to 75 years, found a decreased risk of low handgrip strength among women with a longer reproductive period.
- The findings indicate that a longer reproductive period and later age at menopause may be linked to a lower risk of low handgrip strength in postmenopausal Korean women.
Reproductive life span is determined by a woman’s age at menarche and menopause and is associated with multiple adverse health outcomes. Menarche and menopause impact the aging process in women, with a muscle mass loss of 0.6% per year reported in postmenopausal women.
Sarcopenia is part of the aging process, defined by declining skeletal mass and function. By 2045, an estimated 72.4% of individuals aged over 65 years will be impacted by sarcopenia, which is associated with decreased physical capability, cardiorespiratory capacity, and quality of life, as well as increased falls, disability, metabolic diseases, and mortality risk.
Handgrip strength can be used to screen for sarcopenia, but there are few studies evaluating handgrip strength and the reproductive period. Investigators conducted a study to evaluate this association, including over 2300 postmenopausal women aged 45 to 75 years.
A decreased risk of low absolute handgrip strength was observed among women with a longer reproductive period, even when controlling for covariates. Other factors impacting handgrip strength included level of education, household intake, level of vitamin D and protein intake, and length of breastfeeding period.
While an association was found between age at menopause and handgrip strength, this association was not found for age at menarche.
“This study showed that a longer reproductive period and later age at menopause were linked to a lower risk of low handgrip strength in postmenopausal Korean women,” said Stephanie Faubion, MD, MBA, medical director for The Menopause Society.
“This finding may relate to the beneficial effects of estrogen on skeletal muscle. Additional longitudinal studies are needed in different populations to confirm these findings,”Faubion added.
Age at menopause could determine risk for decline in muscle mass and strength. The Menopause Society. November 29, 2023. Accessed November 30, 2023.https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/press-release/hand-grip-strength-and-early-menopause.pdf