Nav: Home

Early menopause linked to higher risk of future cardiovascular disease

June 21, 2010

Women who experience early menopause appear to have more than twice the risk of having a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular disease event later in life than do women who do not go through early menopause, a new study indicates. The results will be presented Saturday at The Endocrine Society's 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Early menopause was defined as going through menopause before age 46, either naturally or surgically through removal of both ovaries.

"It is important for women to know that early menopause is a potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease--the number one killer of American women. They can then work harder to improve their modifiable risk factors, such as high cholesterol and blood pressure, by exercising and following a healthy diet," said the study's principal author, Melissa Wellons, MD. She is a fellow at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Previous research found a link between early menopause and cardiovascular disease in mostly white and European populations, according to Wellons, but the new study had a multiethnic representation of women. Of the more than 2,500 participants, about 40 percent were white, 25 percent were black, 22 percent were Hispanic and 13 percent were Chinese-American.

At the beginning of the study in July 2000, women were ages 45 to 84. Nearly 28 percent of the women reported early menopause; 446 women had natural menopause and 247 had surgical menopause. Women not yet past menopause were included in the group that did not have early menopause. Follow-up tracked whether participants had a cardiovascular disease event, which included a heart attack, nonfatal cardiac arrest (a suddenly stopped heart), angina (chest pain due to narrowed or blocked arteries), probable angina followed by angioplasty or bypass surgery, a stroke or death due to stroke, heart attack or other cardiovascular disease.

No one had any such event before age 55. After that, women who had early menopause were more likely to have had a cardiovascular disease event than women who had not gone through menopause before age 46.

Even when the researchers' statistical analysis controlled for current or previous use of hormone replacement therapy or for major cardiovascular risk factors, it did not change the results. Early menopause remained a risk factor on its own, although it is unclear why, Wellons reported.

"Our study is observational; therefore, we cannot conclude that early menopause somehow causes future cardiovascular disease," Wellons said. "However, our findings do support the possible use of age at menopause as a marker of future heart and vascular disease risk."
-end-
The women in this study were part of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), an observational research study funded by the National Institutes of Health and involving more than 6,000 men and women from six U.S. communities. Also contributing to the current study were researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore; Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C.; and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

The Endocrine Society

Related Heart Attack Articles:

Where you live could determine risk of heart attack, stroke or dying of heart disease
People living in parts of Ontario with better access to preventive health care had lower rates of cardiac events compared to residents of regions with less access, found a new study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Activated T-cells drive post-heart attack heart failure
Chronic inflammation after a heart attack can promote heart failure and death.
ICU care for COPD, heart failure and heart attack may not be better
Does a stay in the intensive care unit give patients a better chance of surviving a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart failure flare-up or even a heart attack, compared with care in another type of hospital unit?
Heart attack treatment might be in your face
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have received $2.4 million in federal funding to pursue research on a novel cell therapy that would repair heart damage using modified cells taken from the patient's own facial muscle.
Tissue engineering advance reduces heart failure in model of heart attack
Researchers have grown heart tissue by seeding a mix of human cells onto a 1-micron-resolution scaffold made with a 3-D printer.
Study shows functional effects of human stem cell delivery to heart muscle after heart attack
Researchers delivered human stem cells seeded in biological sutures to the damaged heart muscles of rats following induced acute myocardial infarction and assessed the effects on cardiac function one week later.
Younger heart attack survivors may face premature heart disease death
For patients age 50 and younger, the risk of premature death after a heart attack has dropped significantly, but their risk is still almost twice as high when compared to the general population, largely due to heart disease and other smoking-related diseases The risk of heart attack can be greatly reduced by quitting smoking, exercising and following a healthy diet.
After the heart attack: Injectable gels could prevent future heart failure (video)
During a heart attack, clots or narrowed arteries block blood flow, harming or killing cells in the heart.
Heart failure after first heart attack may increase cancer risk
People who develop heart failure after their first heart attack have a greater risk of developing cancer when compared to first-time heart attack survivors without heart failure, according to a study today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
1 in 4 patients develop heart failure within 4 years of first heart attack
One in four patients develop heart failure within four years of a first heart attack, according to a study in nearly 25,000 patients presented today at Heart Failure 2016 and the 3rd World Congress on Acute Heart Failure by Dr.

Related Heart Attack Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...