Early-Onset Menopause Could Mean Greater Cardiovascular Issues

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Remember that heart disease is the #1 killer of women.  In order to be proactive and not reactive about our heart health, we need to educate ourselves on the latest information and studies and discuss them with our menopause specialists.

According to a new study published in the  Journal of the American Medical Association Cardiology, women who experience menopause earlier are at greater risk for cardiovascular issues such as heart disease and stroke and even have greater all-cause mortality rates than women who experience menopause nearer the average age of 51.

The meta-study divided up more than 310,000 women from 32 studies into two groups: those whose menopause had started before the age of 45 and those whose had started after. (It is important to note that premature menopause is considered to occur before age 40 and early-onset menopause is defined as menopause beginning between ages 40 and 44.)

The study shows that the age at menopause might be a predictor of future cardiovascular events and mortality in postmenopausal women. So, women with early onset of menopause may be at  increased risk of heart disease.

According to Heartwire from Medscape, “These findings suggest that women with early onset of menopause may be a group to target for proactive cardiovascular prevention strategies,” said study author Dr. Taulant Muka, of Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

For women in early or premature menopause, that may mean hormone therapy, the researchers said. 

Dr JoAnn E Manson (Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA) and D. Teresa K Woodruff (Northwestern University), write, “The recognition that women with early reproductive decline constitute a population at increased vascular risk provides important opportunities for early intervention in terms of both risk-factor modification and, when appropriate, hormonal treatment. Although additional research is needed to clarify the complex associations between accelerated reproductive aging and vascular health, applying current knowledge will help to reduce cardiovascular events in this high-risk patient population. Since these women have a higher risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, unless there is a “clear reason” to avoid it, experts recommend treatment with estrogen until at least the average age of natural menopause.”

Dr. Taulant Muka (Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands) explained, “Our study shows that age at menopause might be a predictor of future cardiovascular events and mortality in postmenopausal women; so women with early onset of menopause are at increased risk of heart disease. Efforts to increase public awareness among women who experience menopause before age 45 may result in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

After struggling with her own severe menopause symptoms and doing years of research, Ellen resolved to share what she learned from experts and her own trial and error. Her goal was to replace the confusion, embarrassment, and symptoms millions of women go through–before, during, and after menopause–with the medically sound solutions she discovered. Her passion to become a “sister” and confidant to all women fueled Ellen’s first book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers’ requests for empowering information they could trust, Ellen’s weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM, was born.

  • I started to go through Meno at 40! Plus. my risk for heart disease is very high. I just had a stress test, CT scan, and heart sonogram….A+ on the stress test and sonogram…CT shows extensive risk. I stopped eating meat, and I’m working out 80-90 minutes a day. I’m not going anywhere!~

    • Debra Keller

      Good for you!! No, you’re not going anywhere!!!

    • Go you! Speak with your menopause specialist about this new info and how it might impact your current health regime. For example, if you are under age 60 -should you consider hormone therapy for extra protection. If you have never been on HT and are over 60, this is not recommended.

      • Linda Bonsignore

        I understand hrt can be harmful regardless of age wheather you are over or under 60

        • Not necessarily………depending on what you are on. I am on my way to the North American Menopause Society Convention and I will hear the latest science from the experts!

  • sue

    As I’ve mentioned before Ellen I am one of the lucky ones but I had no idea about the correlation between early menopause and cardiac issues. I always learn something from your posts. Thank you!

    • You are one of the lucky ones! Yes!!! Just in case you have friends that did experience early-onset of menopause………please share the recent info so that they can speak to their menopause specialist and find out if they need to make any changes to their current health protocols.

  • Sheryl

    I heard this, too, and it made me think about a few of my friends who had very early menopause. Thankfully, they take very good care of themselves!

    • Please share this info with them so that they discuss it with their menopause specialist to make sure they do not need to tweak their current protocol for more cardiovascular protection!

  • I hadn’t seen this. Thankfully, I was 51. I think. But who can remember….

    • Haha…. you would know if you went into menopause early! 51 is the average age…………

  • Linda Bonsignore

    Well i am 52 in perimenopause my belly feels bloated I haven’t had my period in over 9 months no period by decemember menopause just great I eat right watch my portions monitor everything I eat go to the gym and there still are days when my stomach just feels really yucky