Women who experience early menopause may be at an increased risk for heart failure later in life, especially if they have smoked, the results of a Swedish study suggest.
The study, published online on May 12, 2014, in Menopause, analyzed the relationship between age at natural menopause and heart failure risk among a cohort of postmenopausal women. Women were followed from 1997 through 2011, and data on heart failure were collected from Swedish national registries. Patients with menopause at 40 to 45 years of age were considered to have early menopause, while those with menopause at 50 to 54 years of age were considered normal.
The results indicated that early menopause was significantly associated with heart failure. Compared with women who experienced menopause at a normal age, women with early menopause had an increased hazard ratio for heart failure of 1.40. For every 1-year increase in the age a woman began menopause, the risk for heart failure decreased by 2%. The relationship was even stronger among women who had ever smoked.
“This thought-provoking study should encourage more research to find out how early menopause and heart failure are linked,” Margery Gass, MD, North American Menopause Society executive director, said in a press release. “Do the factors that cause heart failure also cause ovarian failure?”