Age-Related Differences in Health-Related Complaints: The Hilo Women's Health Study.
One persistent question in the literature pertaining to menopause is whether symptoms at midlife are due to hormonal changes associated with menopause or to more general changes associated with age. To address this question, the Hilo Women’s Health Survey collected general health information from women aged 18 to 95 living in the multi-ethnic city of Hilo, HI. The cross-sectional survey was conducted as a baseline for further study of the menopause transition. Questionnaires were mailed to 7207 randomly selected households; 1801 surveys were returned. Women were asked to report their experience of 30 symptoms during the two weeks before interview. The sample was divided into three age groups: 18–39.9 (n ¼ 569), 40–60 (n ¼ 858), and older than 60 (n ¼ 341). Young women were significantly more likely to report backaches, bloating, breast tenderness, irritability, and mood swings compared to middle- aged and older women. Middle-aged women were significantly more likely to report night sweats (26.9%) compared to younger (7.2%) and older (7.4%) women, and more likely to report hot flashes (33.5%) compared to younger (5.3%) and older (13.6%) women. Middle-aged women were also more likely to report fluid retention, loss of sexual desire, nervous tension, rapid heartbeat, and trouble sleeping. Older women reported significantly more leg cramps. Factor analyses resulted in slightly different component matrices. For example, among all age groups hot flashes and night sweats (associated with low levels of estrogen) loaded together into one component. Among women age 40–60, this component included vaginal dryness (another symptom of estrogen decline). The results of this study demonstrate changes in the pattern of emotional and somatic complaints with age.
L. M. Morrison, D. E. Brown, Lynnette L. Sievert, A. M. Reza, and H. A. T. Tefft. "Age-Related Differences in Health-Related Complaints: The Hilo Women's Health Study." American Journal of Human Biology 18.2 (2006): 263.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/lynnette_sievert/35
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