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Early Menopause Increases Heart Failure Risk

Update Date: May 14, 2014 08:06 AM EDT
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Women who go through menopause at ages 40 to 45, have higher rate of heart failures, according to a new study. Smoking habits no matter current or past, raises the rate even more.

In previous researches, relationship between early menopause and heart disease was established. However, the current study is first to demonstrate a link with heart failure, the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to meet the body's need. 

It is also the first large-scale (including more than 22,000 postmenopausal women) and long-term study linking early menopause and heart disease-made possible by the Swedish National Patient Register, which captures nearly all Sweden's hospitalization and outpatient diagnoses; Sweden's Cause of Death Register; and health surveys of some 90,000 women in the Swedish Mammography Cohort, according to press release.

In the analysis, researchers found that women who went through menopause naturally at this early age had a rate of heart failure of around 40 percent higher than women who went through menopause the usual age between 50 and 54.

They noted that for every one-year increase in age at menopause, the rate of failure was 2 percent lower.

Smokers are known to go through menopause an average of one year earlier than nonsmokers, but that didn't entirely explain the early menopause-heart failure connection, since women who had smoked earlier in their lives and quit also had an increased rate of heart failure with early menopause, the press release added. 

"Menopause, early or late, is always a good time to take more steps to reduce heart disease risk through exercise, a healthy diet, weight loss, and quitting smoking," said NAMS Executive Director Margery Gass, MD, in the press release. "This thought-provoking study should encourage more research to find out how early menopause and heart failure are linked. Do the factors that cause heart failure also cause ovarian failure?"

The study has been published in the journal Menopause

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