The health costs of early menopause

From Medicine Today, June 2014:

Early natural menopause is associated with a moderate but significant increase in the risk of heart failure, particularly among smokers, a large prospective population-based study has found.

Data from 22,256 postmenopausal women in the Swedish Mammography Cohort showed those who experienced natural menopause between 40 and 45 years of age had a 40% increase in the incidence of heart failure compared with those who underwent menopause between ages 50 and 54 years.

The study found a 2% decrease in the rate of heart failure for every one-year increase in the age at menopause, according to data published online on 14 May in Menopause.

‘Although a similar increased incidence of heart failure was observed in the youngest age at menopause group across the categories of smoking status, a significantly increased incidence rate (28%) of heart failure for women who entered menopause at ages 46 to 49 years was only observed among ever smokers,’ the study authors wrote.

Hormone therapy did not significantly affect the risk of heart failure at any age of menopause.

Meanwhile, a second cohort study among 4868 women aged 65 years or over showed natural or surgical menopause at or before the age of 40 years was associated with decreased verbal fluency and poorer visual memory in later life. Read more.

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