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Early Menopause Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Failure

First Posted: May 14, 2014 10:41 AM EDT

As previous studies have demonstrated a link between early menopause and heart disease, recent research looks at early menopause, heart failure and the role smoking plays in the problem. 

The study specifically focused on the connection between early menopause and heart disease through the examination of the Swedish National Patient Register, which captures close to all of Sweden's hospitalization and outpatient diagnoses, the Cause of Death Register and health surveys from over 90,000 women in the Swedish Mammography Cohort.

Women who naturally went through menopause at an early age had a 40 percent higher rate of heart failure than those who went through the issue at 50 and 54. In fact, for every one-year increase in age at menopause, the rate failure was 2 percent lower.

Smoking was shown to have a significant effect on the timing of menopause. Those who smoked were likely to go through menopause an average of one year earlier than nonsmokers. However, researchers note that this does note ultimately explain the connection to heart failure, alone. 

"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," said NAMS Executive Director Margery Gass, MD, in the press release. "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?"

More information regarding the findings can be seen via the journal Menopause

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