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Early Menopause Linked To Higher Risks For Cardiac Problems

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Early menopause heightens the risk for cardiovascular diseases and early death in women, a new study suggests.

Dr. Taulant Muka of Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam and a team found that women who enter menopause before turning 45 years old are more likely to have these health problems. He says their study may help predict women’s risks, and early onset menopause may help in “proactive cardiovascular prevention strategies,” Muka explained.

One in 10 women enter menopause early. Natural menopause happens when the ovaries stop producing certain hormones like estrogen. It can also be caused by surgery and certain medical conditions, Fox News reports.

The researchers studied data on over 310,000 women who were involved in a total of 33 studies from the 1990s onwards. They discovered that women with early menopause had a 50% higher chance of contracting coronary heart disease, which causes chest pain, strokes and heart attacks. Women who had menopause before turning 45 also were also 20% likelier to die from cardiovascular diseases, and 12% likelier to die early for any cause, compared to late-menopausal women.

A second analysis showed that women who entered menopause earlier than 50 years old had a reduced risk of coronary heart conditions.

Muka said that menopause may influence the risk of heart disease and other health conditions due to hormones, or it may just because menopause is a sign of aging. He said,

Our results indicate that menopause might be a critical period to evaluate women’s risk for future cardiovascular events and that it may be an appropriate time to introduce interventions to reduce the risk.

Women with early menopause, for example, should start monitoring their blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and overall heart health.

In an accompanying editorial to the study, Dr. JoAnn Manson of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Dr. Teresa Woodruff of Northwestern University in Chicago, say that women in Western countries enter menopause at the average age of 51. Women with early menopause should consider hormone therapy, both Manson and Woodruff wrote, to manage symptoms and protect overall cardiac health.

The study was published in JAMA Cardiology.

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