Metabolic Syndrome and Atherosclerosis in Nondiabetic Postmenopausal Women

  • Stavroula A. Paschou
  • Panagiotis Anagnostis
  • Dimitrios G. Goulis
  • Irene LambrinoudakiEmail author


The aim of this chapter is to analyse and critically appraise current knowledge regarding the effect of menopause on metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its components, as well as on the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Transition to menopause is characterised by a decrease in oestrogen concentrations, relative androgen excess and a decrease in sex hormone-binding globulin concentrations, which are accompanied by changes in fat tissue distribution and increased prevalence of central obesity, insulin resistance and MetS. Some of the individual components of MetS seem to be affected by menopause per se, such as disorders of glucose metabolism, while some others seem to be the result of increased central obesity and insulin resistance, such as hypertension. The lipid profile worsens during the menopausal transition, but whether this phenomenon is irrespective of age, body mass index and central obesity is inconclusive. The presence of MetS appears to increase the risk of CVD after menopause. Surgical menopause is strongly associated with a higher incidence of MetS and increased risk for CVD. Bearing in mind that most women will spend more than one-third of their lifespan in the menopausal status, public health strategies should encourage women to maintain normal body weight during the transition to post-reproductive life, in an attempt to counteract the consequences of both chronological and ovarian ageing.


Menopause Metabolic syndrome Obesity Atherosclerosis Cardiovascular disease 


Competing Interest

None to declare.

Funding: None.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stavroula A. Paschou
    • 1
  • Panagiotis Anagnostis
    • 2
  • Dimitrios G. Goulis
    • 3
  • Irene Lambrinoudaki
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes“Aghia Sophia” Hospital, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Unit of Reproductive Endocrinology, First Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medical SchoolAristotle University of Thessaloniki, “Papageorgiou” General HospitalThessalonikiGreece
  3. 3.Unit of Reproductive Endocrinology, First Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medical SchoolAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  4. 4.Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Second Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medical SchoolNational and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece

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