New research hint that women who reach early menopause are likely to have a heart attack. In the study, it was observed that those who start menopause before age 45 have a 50 percent chance of suffering coronary heart disease than those who have theirs later.
Researchers at the Erasmus University Medical Centre, Netherlands found oestrogen (female sex hormone that is prescribed to treat menopausal symptoms) to have a significant protective effect on the heart.
Menopause occurs when the body stops naturally producing oestrogen and other sex hormones. This cessation usually occurs on average at the age of 51.
Women in menopause experience symptoms that last for about four years. These include depression, headaches and sweating at night. It’s estimated that around one in ten women start menopause earlier in life. Most before the age 45, while in 100 women before they are 40 and one in 1,000 before they are 30.
Dutch researchers reviewed 32 previous studies, involving more than 310,000 women. Those who experienced early menopause had 50 percent chance of suffering from coronary heart disease, 11 percent more were likely to die as a result of heart attack, while 12 percent were likely to die early from any cause.
The researchers also noted that oestrogen played a major role by helping blood vessels relax. When there’s a decrease in oestrogen supply, the arteries stiffen and cause heart attacks.
Adding that, “In healthy vessels, oestrogens are involved in the relaxation and expansion of blood vessels, helping to accommodate blood flow. The complex interplay between exogenous hormones and cardiovascular disease risk is not fully understood and the results regarding hormone replacement therapy and CVD risk are conflicting.”
In a study, led by the University of Southern California, USA, they found that giving women HRT (oestrogen pills) soon after menopause showed slower rates of fatty build-ups, reducing their risk of heart problems.
“It’s important for all women to recognize that heart disease isn’t reserved for overweight, middle-aged, and to play close attention to the factors that can increase their risk, especially after the manopause, ” they concluded.