Hitting menopause early can put you at risk of heart disease and other chronic ailments
A recent study reveals the link between premature menopause and a risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease in your 60s.
We all know the changes that menopause brings along with it. But did you know that, hitting menopause early can pose several health risks? In fact, it can even increase the possibility of chronic diseases in later life.
A recent study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, reveals that women who experience premature menopause are at greater threat to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, arthritis, amongst other diseases. According to the research, women whose periods stop before the age of 40 are three times more prone to experience chronic medical problems in their 60s, compared to the women who had hit their menopause at 50 or later.
The study, which is the first to examine the link between early onset of menopause to multimorbidity, surveyed over five thousand participating Australian women aged 45-50 years in 1996 and tracked them for two decades.
The reports were taken from multiple women who were diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, osteoporosis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, anxiety, or breast cancer in the last three years of the research. The women who had two or more of these conditions at the same time were considered to have multimorbidity.
Dr Xiaolin Xu, the co-author of the research (now, a research professor at Zhejiang University, China) says:
We found that 71% of women with premature menopause had developed multimorbidity by the age of 60 compared with 55% of women who experienced menopause at the age of 50-51.
“In addition, 45% of women with premature menopause had developed multimorbidity in their 60s compared with 40% of women who experienced menopause at the age of 50-51. We also found that premature menopause is associated with a higher incidence of individual chronic conditions,” he adds.
The researchers noted that the study only tried to establish the strong link between the development of multimorbidity and premature menopause, and doesn’t specify that premature menopause causes the development of chronic diseases.
“Our findings also highlight that 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,” said professor Gita Mishra, director of the Centre for Longitudinal and Life Course Research at the University of Queensland, Brisbane.
So, how can you offset the risk?
While you can’t stop menopause–you can improve your lifestyle to ensure that it doesn’t come early. Obesity and smoking are considered to be major contributors to early menopause, coming second only to genetics.
So, improve your diet, exercise regularly, go in for regular check-ups and screenings, and avoid smoking for a long and healthy life–with or without Aunty Flo.