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Title Early menopause doubles risk of heart problems
Date 16 July 2010
Full Story Previous studies have suggested that early menopause can be associated with an increased risk of heart disease and a recently reported study adds further evidence. Presented at the American Endocrine Society annual meeting in San Diego, California, an observational study of more than 2,500 women showed that those who had natural menopause or surgical removal of both ovaries before the age of 46, had more than twice the risk of heart attack and stroke in later life. Lead author Melissa Wellons from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, said that “It is important for women to know that early menopause is a potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Women can then work harder to improve their modifiable risk factors, such as high cholesterol and blood pressure, by exercising and following a healthy diet”.

One criticism of the study is that it is observational and so it cannot be concluded that early menopause causes future cardiovascular disease, but the findings do support the early age of menopause as being a marker of future cardiovascular disease.

It is known that several changes take place around the time of the menopause such as increasing cholesterol level, increasing blood pressure, change in fat distribution and detrimental changes in insulin resistance, all of which increase cardiovascular risk. It is therefore important that all women experiencing the menopause are aware of these changes and make diet and lifestyle changes to reduce risk, and this seems to be particularly relevant for women experiencing an early menopause.

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