Europe

Early menopause link to heart disease risk

A British study has found a link between starting periods early, pregnancy complications and hysterectomy with cardiovascular disease.

Women who go through early menopause are at higher risk of heart disease and stroke, research has shown.

A study led by the University of Oxford also found a link between starting periods early, pregnancy complications and hysterectomy with cardiovascular disease.

Women who went through the menopause before the age of 47 had a 33 per cent heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, rising to 42 per cent for their risk of stroke, they found.

Those who began having periods before the age of 12 were at 10 per cent greater risk of cardiovascular disease than those who had been 13 or older when they started, the study said.

Previous miscarriages were associated with a higher risk of heart disease, with each miscarriage increasing the risk by 6 per cent

And having a stillbirth was associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease in general (22 per cent) and of stroke in particular (44 per cent).

The study, which is published in the journal Heart, found having a hysterectomy was linked to a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease (12 per cent) and of heart disease (20 per cent).

For their study, the team drew on data from the UK Biobank, a large population-based study of more than half a million men and women up to the age of 69, who were recruited between 2006 and 2010.

The team, which was led by Dr Sanne Peters of the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford, said theirs was an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect.

"More frequent cardiovascular screening would seem to be sensible among women who are early in their reproductive cycle, or who have a history of adverse reproductive events or a hysterectomy, as this might help to delay or prevent their onset of CVD," they concluded.

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