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Early Menopause linked to Heart Disease Risk

While many women may believe it a blessing to experience an early menopause (some in their mid- to late-forties, the average being 51), it can also be a detriment, since it may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

A study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that those women who go through menopause prior to age 46 may have more than twice the risk of having a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event later in life.

Researchers followed 2,500 women aged 45 to 84 and found that those who experienced an early menopause fared well until the age of 55, regardless of whether they were given hormone therapy or not. But after that age, almost 6 percent of the women experienced some sort of heart event, compared to 2.6 percent of women who had an average or later onset of menopause.

Dr. Melissa Wellons, who led the study, stated that “The study is observational; therefore, we cannot conclude that early menopause somehow causes future cardiovascular disease. However, our findings do support the possible use of age at menopause as a marker of future heart and vascular disease risk.”

Factors contributing to heart problems primarily include obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and improper diet.

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