New News in Women’s Health! 

From our Research Colleagues at Erasmus Medical Center
Original Clinical Research Published in JAMA Cardiology

Premature or Early-Onset Menopause Associated With Increased Risk
of Coronary Heart Disease, CVD Mortality, All-Cause Mortality

As we age, the risk for heart disease increases along with an increased risk for death. In women, the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) death is particularly increased once menopause is attained. MHICN research colleagues from Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam hypothesized that early onset, or premature, menopause may indicate an earlier risk for heart disease and mortality. As lead author Taulant Muka, MD, PhD noted, identifying these women in a timely manner would help clinicians promote lifestyle interventions and nutritional solutions earlier and improve health outcomes by reducing their risk for heart disease; possibly increasing their lifespan altogether.  Muka and collaborators at Erasmus Medical Center conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 32 studies (more than 300,000 women) to evaluate the effects of age at time of menopause had on risks for developing heart disease and mortality. Their findings were published today as an ‘online first’ in the peer reviewed journal, JAMA Cardiology.

Their analysis compared outcomes between women who experienced menopause prior to age 45 and those women who achieved menopause at 45 years of age or older. The results showed:

  • Women who underwent premature or early-onset menopause (45 years or less) had a greater risk of coronary heart disease (CHD),  CVD mortality, and all-cause mortality than those aged 50 years and above (with no association for stroke in this cohort)
  • Women between 50 and 54 years, at onset of menopause, had a decreased risk for fatal CHD compared to women under 50 years of age

As prior research from Erasmus , recently published in another peer review journal, PLOSOne has shown, vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes) found in over 75% of perimenopausal and menopausal women are linked to a significantly increased risk for heart disease. The data from this latest study indicate women 45 years or younger who undergo premature menopause and associated symptoms (including hot flashes) have an even greater risk for CVD and mortality than those who attain menopause after age 45.

Why is this important?

Symptoms faced by women entering the perimenopause and menopausal stages of life should be recognized as more than mere annoyances and proper clinical work up should be initiated to include:

  • Prompt identification of vasomotor symptoms in all women entering the perimenopause or menopause stage
    • Use of therapeutic solutions that only offer ‘post’ menopausal care are likely inadequate
  • Active incorporation of evidence based peri-menopausal therapeutic options and management are important for a more complete approach to patient care – both symptomatically as well as for the underlying specific condition management – and should include use of
    • A novel medical food food specific for dyslipidemia
    • Innovative plant based therapy, specific for vasomotor symptoms, ERr731

Furthermore, clinicians must actively seek, and identify, patients facing early onset menopause before the age of 45, so that appropriate and early intervention with lifestyle, behavioral and dietary changes can be implemented to reduce risks for heart disease and death as well as improving overall health outcomes.

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