Higher risk of cardiovascular disease in women meeting early menopause

Posted by Haripriya Munipalli on Sun, Sep 30, 2012  
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Menopause is the condition in women where the reproductive cycle and the hormonal cycles will gradually stop. The ovaries during menopause cease to release eggs that are necessary for fertilization. Menopause reduces the secretion of estrogen and progesterone. All the above changes during the menopause, makes the pregnancy possibility to end. Menopause is the natural phenomenon that occurs in several women between the age range of 45 and 55years. The rate of menopause and the onset of menopause are influenced by certain factors such as smoking, exercise, heredity and diet.


The center for disease control and prevention discovered that cardiovascular disease is the top most killer of women in the US. The women facing early menopause are two times at higher risk of suffering from coronary heart disease, according to the recent research study performed by Johns Hopkins Institute. The link between the early menopause and heart strokes was observed to be real in the case of patients coming from different ethnic histories according to this study. This relation is different from all other conventional risk factors for cardiovascular disease as stated by the scientists.


The Assistant Professor in the division of general internal medicine of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine named Dhananjay Vaidya said that the physicians can be watchful enough in trying to prevent heart attacks and heart strokes in an individual before the individual reaches 46 years of age. Mr. Vaidya led the study on the association of early menopause with cardiovascular risks, which was published in the journal ‘Menopause’. He also added that their study results suggest the significance of eluding early menopause if possible.


Mr. Vaidya added that some research studies were showing about smokers meeting menopause almost two years earlier than the non-smokers. Hence, ceasing to smoke might delay the menopause commencement.


The researchers further said that their conclusions in this study regarding the bad influence of early menopause was similar whether the menopause onset was due to surgery or has occurred naturally. The researchers say that still more research on the menopause onset due to surgical procedure has to be done, to conclude confirmedly on this aspect. Vaidya says that the women while undergoing hysterectomy will often have their ovaries detached, which results in quick menopause. He said that probably removal of ovary can be evaded in many cases where the onset of menopause might be delayed and the patients are saved from heart diseases.


According to Vaidya, the research studies that were done earlier could reveal the relationship between early menopause and heart disease in white women while they could not reveal the similar associations in women belonging to various other populations. He further said that African-American and Hispanic women will face early menopause compared to the European women.


This study conducted by Vaidya and his team evaluated the data taken from 2509 women who were recruited for the multiethnic study on Atherosclerosis. Both men and women in the age range of 45 and 84 years belonging to various ethnic groups were selected for this study from 2000 till 2002. The study followed till the year 2008. Among the women who were chosen for the study, 28 percent have experienced the onset of menopause below 46 years of age.  Vaidya and his team could identify that the risk of getting heart strokes in these people was doubled while the exact number of cardiac events that were seen in these people was very small. About 37 people had strokes while 50 women suffered from various heart events.


Vaidya says that few women are opting for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to manage the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and sweating. He said that people have reduced using HRT for long term after certain clinical trials proved that it created higher risk for heart disease in women. In this study, HRT was not found to be possibly influencing the effect of early menopause.


Vaidya also states that the risk of cardiovascular disease will start from early part of life while the heart strokes generally occur in the later part of life. He added further that young women are not focused on, to prevent the onset of risks in them as it is a general opinion that cardiovascular diseases occur in old people. Their study reiterates that handling the risk elements in the young women will help to prevent or delay heart strokes when they grow old.


Main Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine, news release, 18th Sep. 2012.


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