Does early menopause increase heart problems?

Study author Dr. Ga Eun Nam, Korea University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea, said: “Women with early menopause should be aware that they may be more prone to heart failure or atrial fibrillation compared with women with early menopause. the others. “This could be a good incentive to improve lifestyle habits known to be associated with heart disease, such as quitting smoking and exercising.”

Heart problems in young women

Cardiovascular disease usually occurs in women up to 10 years later than in men. Premenopausal women are thought to benefit from estrogen’s protective effects on the cardiovascular system. The cessation of menstruation and subsequent decline in estrogen levels may make women more susceptible to cardiovascular disease.


How do you know if you are at risk for heart disease?

Early menopause affects 1% of women under the age of 40. Previous studies have found an association between early menopause (before age 40) and early menopause (before age 45) and cardiovascular disease in general, but evidence for heart failure or atrial fibrillation alone is limited. regime.

This study examined the association between early menopause, age at menopause, incident heart failure, and atrial fibrillation. The data is taken from the Korea National Health Insurance System (NHIS), which provides health check-ups at least every two years and covers 97% of the population.

The study included 1,401,175 postmenopausal women aged 30 years and older who completed the NHIS wellness screening in 2009. Participants were followed up until the end of 2018 for new-onset heart failure and fibrillation. atrium. Information was collected on demographics, health behaviors, and reproductive factors including age at menopause and use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

The age of menopause is classified as under 40, 40 to 44, 45 to 49 and 50 years or older. Early menopause is defined as having your last menstrual period before age 40.

Approximately 28,111 (2%) of the participants had a history of early menopause. In these women, the mean age of menopause was 36.7 years. The mean age of women with and without a history of early menopause was 60 and 61.5 years, respectively. During a median follow-up of 9.1 years, 42,699 (3.0%) developed heart failure and 44.834 (3.2%) developed atrial fibrillation.

The researchers analyzed the association between a history of early menopause and incident heart failure and atrial fibrillation after adjusting for age, smoking, alcohol, physical activity, income, and body mass index. , hypertension, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, chronic kidney disease, coronary heart disease, HRT, and age at apocalypse.

Women with early menopause have a 33% higher risk of heart failure, a 9% higher risk of atrial fibrillation. compared to those who don’t.

The researchers then analyzed the association between age at menopause and the incidence of heart failure and atrial fibrillation, after adjusting for the same factors as in previous analyses. The risk of incident heart failure increases as the age of menopause decreases.

Compared with women aged 50 or older at menopause, those aged 45 to 49, 40 to 44, and younger than 40 at menopause were 11%, 23%, and 39% more likely to develop heart failure, respectively. . Similarly, the risk of an atrial fibrillation event increased as the age of menopause decreased, with a higher risk of 4%, 10%, and 11%, respectively, for those aged 45 to 49, 40 to 44 years. and less than 40 years of age at menopause compared with women aged 50 years and older at menopause.

Several factors may explain the association between menopause, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation, the authors say, such as a drop in estrogen levels and changes in body fat distribution.

Dr. Nam concludes: “The misconception that heart disease primarily affects men means that sex-specific risk factors have been largely ignored. Evidence is accumulating that over time. menopause before age 40 can increase your chances of developing heart disease later in life, research indicates that reproductive history should routinely be considered alongside traditional risk factors such as smoking when assessing likelihood heart failure and atrial fibrillation in the future.”

Source: Eurekalert

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