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Early menopause link to heart disease a ‘window of opportunity’

Early menopause puts women at greater risk of non-fatal cardiovascular disease, new research says.

The University of Queensland found that reaching menopause before the age of 50 puts women at greater risk of suffering a non-fatal cardiac event like heart attack, angina or stroke.

Study lead and PhD scholar Dongshan Zhu said identifying women with early menopause offers a window of opportunity for doctors to monitor and manage cardiovascular disease risk factors.

The researchers looked at data from more than 300,000 women in 15 studies around the world.

Senior author Professor Gita Mishra said: “Women under 40 who experience premature menopause were nearly twice as likely to have a non-fatal cardiovascular event before the age of 60.

“This is compared to women who reach menopause between the ages of 50 or 51, during what is considered the standard developmental period.

“Women who were aged between 40 and 44 in menopause were 40 per cent more likely to suffer from a cardiovascular condition.”

While previous studies have revealed a link between early menopause and fatal cardiovascular events, Mishra said its relationship with non-fatal cardiovascular events was unclear until now.

“Smoking, being overweight or obese, and having lower education levels can also strengthen the link between early menopause and a woman’s risk of cardiovascular disease.”

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