May 17, 2014 12:38 AM EDT
Early Menopause Increases Heart Failure Risk In Smokers
Women who go through early menopause have a higher rate of heart failure, according to a recent study. Smoking, current or past, raises the rate even more.
Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden found a link between early menopause and heart failure, the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.
"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," Margery Gass, executive director of the North American Menopause Society, said in a statement. "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?"
For the study, researchers analyzed data from 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.
Based on their findings, women who went through menopause naturally at an early age had a rate of heart failure some 40 percent higher than women who went through menopause the usual age between 50 and 54. And for every one-year increase in age at menopause, the rate of heart failure was 2 percent.
Researchers noted that 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."
"What's more, women who smoked, even if they had quit earlier, had a higher risk of heart failure if they went through menopause only somewhat early -- at ages 46 to 49," researcher said.
The findings were recently published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society.
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