The finding, published in the current issue of Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society, suggests women with early menopause be especially vigilant about keeping cholesterol, weight and blood pressure in check to prevent heart disease.
A recent study also shows women who eat plenty of fruits in vegetables to maintain antioxidant levels in the body have a 20% lower risk of heart attack.
The more fruits and vegetables a woman consumed in the study, the lower their risk of heart disease, according to finding published this month in the American Journal of Medicine.
Researcher Melissa Wellons, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine in the Vanderbilt Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism who conducted the study while working at the University of Alabama-Birmingham said in a press release that the finding is important. Heart disease is a leading cause of death for women in the U.S.
Wellons said she hopes the study finding will encourage women with early menopause to take action to “… engage in the lifestyle and medical strategies known to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Within the study, European, African-American, Hispanic and Asian women with early menopause were found to have double the risk of heart disease, compared to women who experience menopause later in life.
The investigation included, 2509 women enrolled in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA); 693 experienced menopause before the age of 46. They also were more likely to be overweight, smokers or diagnosed with diabetes – all of which are known to raise risk of heart disease.
Wellons said it might be important for clinicians to question women about menopause. The study doesn't show that early menopause is a cause of heart disease among women, but it does suggest there is an association.