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.”