Does menopause increase diabetes risk? Strategies for diabetes prevention in midlife women

Womens Health (Lond). 2012 Mar;8(2):155-67. doi: 10.2217/whe.11.95.


Menopause is a significant milestone for midlife women. The characteristic changes in sex hormones and associated symptoms mark a time of increased risk for chronic disease, most notably cardiovascular disease. The diabetes epidemic, combined with recent epidemiologic studies linking sex hormone profiles with incident diabetes risk, have recently raised the possibility that the menopause may increase diabetes risk as well. This report reviews studies of menopause and diabetes risk, as well as the potential mechanisms through which menopause might affect traditional and more novel diabetes risk factors. Diabetes risk appears to be more strongly linked with factors associated with chronological aging and sex hormones rather than changes in menopausal status per se. Strategies to reduce diabetes risk, namely lifestyle changes, hormone therapy and other pharmacologic interventions are also discussed vis à vis midlife women and menopause.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / prevention & control
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy*
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / physiology
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Menopause / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones