New research shows that the risks of heart disease and premature death are increased in women who experience early menopause. To reach these results, Dutch investigators analyzed more than 300,000 women from 32 other studies.
This research examined women who were younger than 45 years old when they experienced menopause in comparison to women who were older at the start of menopause.
The findings showed that women experiencing early menopause were 50 percent more likely to encounter heart diseases than those who were older than 45 years old at the start of menopause.
Dr. Taulant Muka, of Rotterdam, Erasmus University Medical Center, the lead author of the study said that premature menopause was also linked to increased risk of cardiovascular death, but was not related to stroke.
Although the research did not establish a cause-and-effect connection between heart and death risk and early menopause, Muka thinks that the findings could suggest that these women must be targeted for enterprising cardiovascular prevention procedures. These procedures could also involve hormone therapy according to the researchers.
Many experts noted that the use of estrogen, which is a female hormone, for an extended period is linked to stroke and cancer risk, which surpass the benefits of this long-term use.
However, the co-executive of the Connors Center for Gender Biology and Women’s Health, JoAnn Manson, says that the recommendations change for women who experience menopause before age 45. For these women, she believes that the estrogen treatment is highly recommended unless there are strict reasons why the procedure should not be followed.
The lead author of the research noted that one in ten women experience menopause earlier than the average age of 51 years old. It could be caused by the surgical extraction of a woman’s ovaries or several cancer therapies.
Worldwide, one in three women dies from heart disease, and menopause seems to increase this risk for reasons that are still unclear even for specialists.
Manson says that although the reasons are not clear, one thing is for sure. The risk goes both ways. While early menopause hikes the risk of a heart condition, agents such as high cholesterol and hypertension could cause early menopause by damaging the blood supply to the ovary.
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