Early Menopause May Increase Risk of Heart Failure, MESA Study Finds
Menopause causes many changes in women’s bodies, some welcome and some difficult.
Most people, however, do not think that this process can affect a woman’s heart.
A recent MESA study led by Dr. Imo Ebong looked at how the age of menopause may relate to heart failure.
It showed there indeed might be an effect.
This study was recently published in the journal Menopause and used data from women who had reached menopause when MESA started.
It divided these women into two groups, those who had early menopause (before age 45), and those reached menopause after 45 years of age.
The researchers looked to see which group had more heart failure events. Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot pump enough
blood to meet the body’s needs. They also look at MRIs of women’s heart from MESA Exam 1 to see if age of menopause changed
the heart’s structure.
Dr. Ebong’s team found that early menopause is related to a higher risk of heart failure.
They also found that for each year increase of a woman’s age at menopause, her risk of heart failure goes down.
In other words, the later a woman reaches menopause, the less risk she has for heart failure.
The study also found that Chinese-American women with early menopause showed warning signs for heart problems
in their MRIs before other ethnic groups.
This study provides good evidence that women who reach menopause at a younger age could have an increased risk for heart failure.
Primary care providers may need to screen their patients with early menopause carefully and strongly advise them to develop
heart-healthy habits. This information can help find new ways to prevent heart disease,
which is the leading killer of women in the US.