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Unique symptoms at midlife of women with osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease in Taiwan

Wang, Hui-Ling RN, MSN1,2; Tai, Mei-Kuei RN, PhD3,4; Hung, Hsuan-Man RN, MSN1; Chen, Chung-Hey RN, PhD5

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e31826d30f2
Original Articles

Objective This study compared symptoms at midlife, menopause attitudes, and depression among three groups of late peri- or postmenopausal women, namely, women with cardiovascular disease (CVD group), women with osteoporosis (Os group), and women in generally good health (Co group).

Methods We used a cross-sectional method. Participants were purposively sampled from a medical center and a residential community in southern Taiwan. A total of 500 women between 45 and 60 years of age participated in the study. Four measures were used: a demographics and health habits questionnaire, the Women’s Health Initiative Symptom Scale, the Attitudes Towards Menopause Scale, and the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale.

Results Significant demographic differences among the groups were found in age, number of children, educational level, family income, employment status, exercise duration per session, smoking status, daily cigarette consumption, and number of years smoking. After significant covariates had been controlled for, the CVD group reported significantly more severe symptoms at midlife than did the Co group; significantly more severe “psychosomatic symptoms” than did the Co group; and significantly more severe “gastrointestinal symptoms and swelling” and “vasomotor symptoms” than did either the Os group or the Co group. The CVD group also reported significantly greater depressive symptoms than did the Os group.

Conclusions This study identified a number of differences in symptoms at midlife and depressive symptoms among the three groups. Results support the importance of providing unique care for peri- and postmenopausal women in different health categories. Findings may help healthcare professionals better appreciate the diversity of menopausal experiences and support the development of appropriate care strategies.

From the 1Institute of Allied Health Science, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan, ROC; 2Department of Nursing, Shu-Zen College of Medicine and Management, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, ROC; 3School of Nursing, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, ROC; 4Department of Nursing, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, ROC; and 5Institute of Allied Health Sciences and Department of Nursing, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan, ROC.

Received May 1, 2012; revised and accepted July 20, 2012.

Funding/support: This study was supported by the National Science Council in Taiwan.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Chung-Hey Chen, RN, PhD, Institute of Allied Health Sciences and Department of Nursing, National Cheng Kung University, 1 University Road, Tainan 70101, Taiwan, ROC. E-mail:

© 2013 by The North American Menopause Society.