A recent study has found that females who stop having their periods before age 46 had a higher incidence of
Doctors have long suspected that women who undergo early
The study, published in the October issue of Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society, found that women who underwent early menopause were about twice as likely to eventually have coronary artery disease and stroke.
Because heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, the authors of the study said they wanted to uncover the effects of menopause on cardiovascular health.
"When people think of the two (heart disease and menopause), they think of it as women don't need to worry about heart disease until after the age of menopause," said Dhananjay Vaidya, an author of the study who oversaw the research. "We're coming to the conclusion that that's not the case, that heart disease in women needs to be considered and prevented much earlier in life."
Researchers used women from the Multi-Ethnic Study of
The study authors noted that removal of ovaries during
Vaidya, assistant professor in the division of general
Dr. Michelle Wellons, lead study author, noted that a number of other studies linked early menopause with heart disease, but that research focused on European women, who were usually white.
"This was different because it looked at women from multiethnic populations" said Wellons, assistant professor of medicine in the division of
Wellons said researchers still didn't fully understand the link between menopause and heart disease, though they speculated loss of estrogen contributed.
The article was submitted while Wellons was at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Dr. Michael Chen of
"I think it really does sort of revise the (estrogen) hypothesis again," said Chen, assistant professor of neurology, neurosurgery and radiology.
Chen also is studying the connections between menopause and cerebral