Early menopause may increase a woman’s risk of multiple health issues

  • Some women who go through menopause early can be three times more at risk to suffer multiple health issues in later life, a study suggests.
  • Research conducted by scientists at The University of Queensland in Brisbane found that women who went through menopause before they turn 50 were twice as likely to develop “multimorbidities” by 60 and three times more at risk from 60 onwards.
  • Multimorbidity means being diagnosed or treated for two or more of the conditions.

Researchers from The University of Queensland in Brisbane conducted a study involving more than 5,000 women aged 40-to-50 over 20 years.

The findings suggest that women who went through menopause before the age of 50 were twice as likely to develop “multimorbidities” by 60 and three times more at risk from 60 onwards.

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“We found 71% of women with premature menopause developed multimorbidity by the age of 60 compared with 55% of women who experienced menopause at the age of 50-to-51,” study author Dr. Xiaolin Xu said.

“In addition, 45% of women with premature menopause developed multimorbidity in their 60s compared with 40% of women who experienced menopause at the age of 50-51.”

In both the UK and the US, the average age for a woman to go through “the change” is 51, according to statistics.

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The NHS defines early menopause as before the age of 45.

This can occur naturally, or as a result of chemo, radiotherapy or surgery to remove the ovaries.

To uncover the risks of early menopause, the scientists looked at thousands of middle-aged women who took part in the Australian Longitudinal Study.

The women answered a questionnaire in 1996, followed by additional surveys around every three years.

The study noted if the women had suffered any of the following: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, osteoporosis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, anxiety or breast cancer.

Multimorbidity was defined as being diagnosed or treated for two or more of the conditions.

Findings reveal those who went through early natural menopause, not treatment-induced, were more likely to suffer several health complications years later.

“We also found premature menopause is associated with a higher incidence of individual chronic conditions,” Dr. Xu said.

The results remained true after adjusting for other factors that influence health, including BMI, exercise levels and smoking status.

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Exactly how premature menopause and multiple health issues are linked is undetermined.

One study suggests the same DNA that causes a woman to go through the change early may also affect heart health, the scientists wrote in the journal Human Reproduction.

Plummeting estrogen levels during the menopause may also alter “several fundamental aging processes at the cellular, organ and system level, finally leading to the onset of chronic conditions and multimorbidity”.

“Our findings suggest health professionals should consider providing comprehensive screening and assessment of risk factors when treating women who experience natural premature menopause in order to assess their risk of multimorbidity,” study author Professor Gita Mishra said.

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“Our findings also highlight multimorbidity should be considered as a clinical and public health priority when policy-makers are considering how to control and prevent chronic health problems in women.”

They are looking into whether certain risk factors can be targeted to prevent or slow health problems in those going through the change early. These may include not smoking, controlling body weight or exercise.

Source: Yahoo Lifestyle


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