The age at menopause is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Pooled data from >300,000 participants without prior hysterectomy in 15 observational studies were studied. Premature menopause was defined as the absence of menstruation for 12 months before the age of 40; early menopause between the ages of 40-44; and relatively early defined between the ages of 45-49. The reference group was ages 50-51.
Results indicated that compared to the reference group, premature and early menopause were important risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Compared with women who had menopause at age 50-51, women with premature and early menopause had a substantial increase risk of a non-fatal cardiovascular event before the age of 60 years, but not after age 70 years. Women who reached menopause after the age of 52 had slightly decreased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
All women in their 40’s need to be assessed for cardiovascular risks, but women in premature or early menopause need closer monitoring as this research indicates.
Reference: Zhu D et al. Age at natural menopause and risk of incident cardiovascular disease: A pooled analysis of individual patient data. Lancet Public Health 2019 Oct 3; [e-pub]. (https://doi.org/10.1016/s2468-2667(19)30155-0.