CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo - March is Women's History Month and Kosovo Forces Soldiers here have been learning about women's health issues during a series of noontime lectures.

On March 24, Eileen Drummond, the family health nurse practitioner from the U.S. Embassy health unit in Pristina, gave a presentation on health concerns women can expect to face during and after menopause. More than 20 Multi-National Battle Group-East Soldiers attended.

"Menopause is a process that takes years," Drummond said. "Any hormone may be dominant at any given time during the process - they fluctuate."

Drummond said that 52 is the average age for women to enter menopause. She said that the main health concern for women at any point in life, but especially after menopause, is heart disease.

"Heart disease kills more women than men," she said. "It is the number one killer of women."

Drummond listed seven things women can do to reduce the risk of heart disease: exercising, eating a healthy diet, controlling weight, stopping smoking, and watching blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.

"You need to have wellness checkups and watch blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar on a regular basis," she said. "The longer you ignore these things, the more damage you will do."

Another major risk after menopause is osteoporosis, said Drummond.

"It is a silent disease until you get a fracture," she said.

Drummond urged the Soldiers attending the lecture to look into having a bone density test, if possible.

"In our teens and 20s, we are building the most bone," she said. "Early in our adulthood we lose this bone-building capacity."

Drummond said that a healthy diet combined with weight bearing exercises, like walking and running, can help build bone density. She added that adding calcium and Vitamin D to the diet can also be useful. On the other hand, excess consumption of alcohol and caffeine can contribute to a loss in bone density.

Drummond's lecture was the third in the women's health series. 1st Lt. Rachael Gabbard, Crescent Park, Ky., who coordinated the series, said that the final lecture will be held March 31. It will focus on breast cancer prevention and awareness.