Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

Marla Ahlgrimm | Retired Pharmacist | Leading Expert in Women's Health

Marla Ahlgrimm: Metabolic Syndrome Risk at Menopause

Marla AhlgrimmMadison, Wisconsin-based pharmacist and women’s healthcare expert Marla Ahlgrimm answers your questions about how weight, education, income, and exercise play a role in a woman’s risk of metabolic syndrome.

Q: What is metabolic syndrome?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Metabolic syndrome isn’t one specific condition. Instead, it is the compounded occurrence of high blood glucose levels, obesity, elevated cholesterol, and increased blood pressure. This cluster of conditions increases a woman’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Q: What are the symptoms of metabolic syndrome?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Unfortunately, many of the disorders associated with metabolic syndrome don’t present with outward symptoms. However, having a larger than proportionate waistline is a visible sign. Women with high blood sugar may experience increased thirst, blurred vision, fatigue, and issues with urination.

Q: Does a woman’s weight affect her risk?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Overweight and obese women are 4 to 12 times more at risk than normal-weight women. Additionally, women who fail to exercise regularly nearly double their risk of metabolic syndrome.

Q: What steps can a woman take to decrease her weight as she approaches menopause?

Marla Ahlgrimm: As a woman ages, her metabolism naturally decreases. If she continues to eat her regular diet without increasing physical activity she will gain weight. It’s best to keep moving and make a conscious effort to choose healthy foods at each meal. Most experts recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day.

Q: Are well-educated women less likely to contract metabolic syndrome?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Yes, a recent study conducted by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) concluded that women who failed to graduate high school increased their risk of metabolic syndrome by 1.4 times. The researchers also found that low income women were nearly 2x more likely than middle to upper class women to report metabolic syndrome.


Author: Marla Ahlgrimm

Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm revolutionized the field of women’s health in the 1970s and continues to do so today. After introducing the term “premenstrual syndrome” to the American public in the late 1970s, Marla Ahlgrimm has continued to focus her pharmacy practice over the years to successfully address hormone concerns that affect women as they age. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Marla Ahlgrimm co-founded Madison Pharmacy Associates, and it was there she fine tuned individualized care protocols and prescription medication to optimize a woman’s hormonal health. One of the first hormone issues that Marla tackled was Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS. At that time, there were no diagnosis or treatment options to address the severe symptoms that many women were reporting. As a result of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s intense attention to women’s health, Madison Pharmacy Associates gained a national reputation as an innovative practice. Founded in 1982, Madison Pharmacy Associates was the first pharmacy to special in women’s health in the nation. Thanks to the expertise of Marla Ahlgrimm, Madison Pharmacy Associates became known for the management of PMS. Over the years, Madison Pharmacy Associates evolved with Marla Ahlgrimm’s careful guidance, providing the national PMS Access newsletter, as well as a toll-free line where patients could obtain referrals to physicians who had the expertise to help them manage their symptoms. Marla Ahlgrimm founded Women’s Health America, Inc. in 1993 to help women by providing individualized hormonal medications to address the complex health issues of women and also to provide practical, helpful women’s health information. Over the years, Marla Ahlgrimm’s vision has grown to include Women’s Health America, Madison Pharmacy Associates, PMS Access and Cyclin Pharmaceuticals. In addition to her accomplishments with these landmark organizations, Marla Ahlgrimm is an author, having published two watershed books, The HRT Solution and Self-Help for Premenstrual Syndrome. Marla Ahlgrimm has also been published in numerous national publications, including serving as a columnist for The American Journal of Natural Medicine. Today, the primary work of Marla Ahlgrimm centers on natural hormone therapy, an important area for the large number of women who are menopausal and postmenopausal. Marla Ahlgrimm ’s work is unique because of her focus on individualized, natural hormone therapy options. According to pharmacist, Marla Ahlgrimm, many health issues facing women today are related to hormone changes. Using an individualized approach to therapy, she reports that many women feel reenergized for the first time in years. In addition to recognition in publications and journals, Marla Ahlgrimm has been recognized with a number awards over the span of her career. Some of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s most notable awards have been the YWCA’s acknowledgment of Marla Ahlgrimm as one of its Women of Distinction and recognition by her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, as one of its Distinguished Alumni. Above all of the awards and honors, Marla Ahlgrimm finds that helping so many women is the greatest accomplishment of all. In fact, says Marla Ahlgrimm, she still works with some of her very first patients and their doctors. These women once sought the help of Marla Ahlgrimm for PMS, she says, and today she is helping them manage symptoms of menopause and the years that follow.

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