- Menopause signals the end of
menstruation in women, typically occurring between 49 to 52 years of age.
- Cardiovascular disease is relatively
uncommon in women before menopause.
- Incidence of cardiovascular disease
in women increases sharply after menopause.
- Early onset of menopause occurring
at less than 45 years of age may be associated with an increased risk of
heart disease and overall mortality.
Early Onset of Menopause and Effect on
or premature age of onset of menopause
its effect on certain types of cardiovascular disease and overall mortality were
analyzed in a recent study.
Taulant Muka, M.D.,
Ph.D., of Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and
colleagues conducted a systematic review
and meta-analysis of 32 studies (310,329 women)
that satisfied the criteria
for inclusion in their study.
‘Relief from periods finally, but increased the risk of heart disease.’
Incidence of cardiovascular disease was compared between women who experienced menopause younger than 45 years of age
and women who were 45 years or older
They found that overall, women who experienced premature or early-onset menopause
at less than 45 years seemed to
have a greater risk of coronary heart disease (CHD)
disease (CVD) mortality, and an all-cause mortality but no significant relation
to an increased risk of stroke. Women between the ages of 50 and 54 years at
onset of menopause had a decreased risk of fatal CHD compared with women
younger than 50 years at onset.
Women who begin
menopause before age 46 or after 55 have an increased risk of developing type
The relationship between 'time since
onset' of menopause and the risk of developing intermediate cardiovascular
traits such as high blood
, diabetes, obesity and increased cholesterol levels or CVD
outcomes were reported in 4 observational studies but showed inconsistent
"The findings of this review
indicate a higher risk of CHD, cardiovascular mortality, and overall mortality
in women who experience premature or early-onset menopause when younger than 45
However, this review also highlights important gaps in the existing
literature and calls for further research to reliably establish whether
cardiovascular risk varies in relation to the time since onset of menopause and
the mechanisms leading early menopause to cardiovascular outcomes and
mortality," the authors write.
signals the end of a woman's reproductive life and the cessation of
menses. Typically it occurs between 49 to 52 years. By 58 years, majority of
women (97%) have undergone menopause. It is a natural phenomenon, and not an
illness. However, the physical and psychological changes that accompany
menopause may be distressing for many women.
With onset of menopause, there is a decline
in ovarian function
. The ovaries produce lower amounts of the female sex hormones
, namely estrogen
. Estrogen levels gradually decline
over several years following the onset of menopause. The hormonal imbalances
accompanying menopause are responsible for much of its features.
Symptoms and Signs of Menopause
Most women notice some changes during the years leading upto menopause.
This period is referred to as perimenopause,
and may last for 4 to 5 years. Common symptoms and signs during
this period include
- Irregular menses
- Abnormal bleeding from
- Hot flashes, including the flushing of the face
and chest. These may be accompanied by palpitations, headaches and
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Sleep disturbances
- Migraines during
- Bone weakness and
- Mood changes, including
depression, and tension (anxiety)
- Increase in belly fat
Menopause and Its Risk For Development of
have an increased risk for development of the following diseases
- Decreased bone density
- Increased intra ocular
- Heart disease
- Macular degeneration
- Colon cancer
The increase in the incidence of heart disease following menopause is especially sharp,
compared to its prevalence among women in the reproductive age group.
Why Menopause May Be Associated With Heart
Decreasing estrogen hormone levels
menopause may contribute to the increased incidence of heart disease in
Other additional and
equally important risk factors that are associated with increased risk of heart
disease in general, that also need to be addressed or modified include
- High blood
- Elevated blood
- Diabetes and
- Leading a
- Family history
of early heart disease
- History of very
high blood pressure and fluid retention during pregnancy
- Age (55 or older
Measures to Reduce Incidence of Heart Disease
processes and risks start very early in life, although heart attacks and
strokes happen later in life. Younger women are rarely targeted for preventive
measures, since cardiovascular disease is believed to occur only in older
women. Addressing the risk factors by
women when they are still young may reduce or postpone occurrence of heart
disease when they are older
- Reducing or stopping
- Weight loss
- Exercising for at
least 30 minutes per day more than three times per week. Exercising helps
elevate mood, and reduces hot flashes. Weight bearing exercises
help keep the bones strong.
- Following a healthy and
balanced diet. Reduce the intake of sugars and fatty foods.
- Treatment of medical
conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood
- pressure which are
known to increase the risk of heart disease.
- Hormone replacement therapy may
help, though they are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer
Early menopause serves as a sentinel for elevated CVD risk, write JoAnn
E. Manson, M.D., Dr.P.H., of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical
School, Boston, and Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D., of Northwestern University,
Chicago, in an accompanying commentary.
"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
- Menopause Introduction - (http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/menopause)
- What is Menopause? - (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menopause)
- Sex, Age, Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Coronary Heart Disease - (http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/99/9/1165)
- Early menopause associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke - (http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/early_menopause_associated