Women who start early in life or face menopause are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to a new study.
Although the researchers say it is not clear whether reproductive factors increase the risk, they say women who replicate more frequently may have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, which may help prevent or delay the onset of the disease.
“It’s important to look further at the underlying causes of these findings because they help us come up with interventions for people or individuals,” said epidemiologist Sanne Peters of the university of Oxford.
In a paper by cardiology and co-author mark Woodward, they described how they could further examine the link by examining data from the British biological bank. The British biological library is a database of genetic, medical and life information from more than half a million men and women aged 40 to 69.
The team studied more than 267,000 women and 215,000 healthy men with no history of cardiovascular disease, and then studied participants for the next seven years.
The data showed that 5,882 participants had coronary heart disease, of which 3,489 had strokes. A total of 9,054 participants had one or two cardiovascular diseases, 34 percent of whom were women.
Once age and other factors, including BMI, smoking status and blood pressure, were taken into account, the team found that women who started menstruating before age 12 had a 10 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease than women who started menstruating at age 12. In particular, the risk of stroke increased 17 percent and the risk of coronary heart disease increased 5 percent.
But Peters said it was not clear what was behind the link, noting that childhood obesity might play a role, but that the study only considered BMI at the time of the data collection.
Women who underwent natural menopause before age 47 also had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, with a 33 percent increased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
Again, Peters said, the reason for the link is unclear. “This is really chicken and egg: is it a subclinical cardiovascular disease that leads to early menopause, or menopause that leads to cardiovascular disease?
Although some believe the link may be due to relatively short exposure of estrogen, a hormone known to prevent cardiovascular disease, in early postmenopausal women, Peters said the jury did not appear.
Peters added that analyzing whether the participants’ genetic studies helped to analyze the direct link between premature ejaculation and early menopause and cardiovascular disease until another common factor, such as environmental or lifestyle factors, was identified. “Quite a few genes are thought to be involved in [women’s] reproductive lifespan,” she said. The question is whether these genes are also involved in the physiology of cardiovascular diseases, even other diseases such as cancer or diabetes. ”
The risk of coronary heart disease in men and women also increased as the number of children increased.
In addition, miscarriage and hysterectomy were associated with a 14 percent and 20 percent increased risk of coronary heart disease, while stillbirth was associated with an increased risk of stroke.
Dr John Perry, co-director of the growth and development programme at the MRC epidemiology unit at Cambridge university, welcomed the study.
However, he added, it was not clear whether factors such as early puberty and early menopause increased the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, further research is needed to determine whether these represent causality rather than correlation. “He said.