What Menopause Might Mean for Your Heart

Menopause timing may influence risk of heart failure in women

(RxWiki News) Women who reached menopause at a younger age or never had a child had a raised risk of heart failure, according to a new study.

That finding may build on past research that found that hormones during women's reproductive years may affect their later risk of heart disease, said the authors of this new study.

This study looked at more than 28,500 postmenopausal women who did not have heart disease. Just over 5 percent of the women were hospitalized for heart failure during an average follow-up period of 13.1 years.

Women who had a shorter total reproductive time — measured from the first period to the onset of menopause — were more likely than those who had a longer reproductive period to have heart failure, this study found. Those who never gave birth were also more likely to have heart failure.

"Our finding that a shorter total reproductive duration was associated with a modestly increased risk of heart failure might be due to the increased coronary heart disease risk that accompanies early menopause," said senior study author Dr. Nisha I. Parikh, of the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, in a press release. "These findings warrant ongoing evaluation of the potential cardioprotective mechanisms of sex hormone exposure in women."

Talk to your health care provider about how to help keep your heart healthy.

This study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The National Institutes of Health, American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association funded this research. The study authors disclosed no potential conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
May 24, 2017