Early Menopause And The Related Health Risks

2012-09-20 | |
Last updated: 2012-09-20

What Is Considered Early Menopause?

Regardless of the cause, the onset of menopause before the age of 40 is definitely considered premature. In other situations, the occurrence of menopause before the age of 45 is also considered premature. Early menopause affects approximately 1% of women and generally happens to women in their thirties. Only one in 1000 women under the age of 30 can expect to experience early menopause. In more than 90% of cases, the reason for the premature occurrence of menopause is unknown.

While 1% may seem like a small number, just last year, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reported that the frequency of early menopause is increasing.

What Health Risks Can Arise From Early Menopause?

With rates of premature menopause on the rise, it becomes important for women to understand the potential health effects that can occur. The following are some of the more serious effects on health.

Early Menopause Raises The Chances For Stroke and Heart Disease

In a study released just this month, researchers from Johns Hopkins University reported the level of risk that women can face from cardiovascular disease as a result of premature menopause. Their study of more than 2500 women found that the chances for either a stroke or heart attack were two times as high for women who had their last period before the age of 45 compared to women to those who faced menopause after age 45. With no current long-term treatments to reduce this risk, this indicates that prevention of early menopause is key to protecting one’s health.

Osteoporosis Risks Are Higher When Menopause Occurs Early

Besides the health of the circulatory system, early menopause can also affect the health of the bones. In research from Skane University Hospital, also published this year, scientists identified that early menopause also increases the chances for developing osteoporosis. Their research determined that the risk of brittle bones was almost twice as high among women whose periods stopped early.

The research also determined that the risk for fractures from the weak bones was more than 40% higher for these same women. This in turn, increased the odds of dying by almost 50%. This is expected considering that breaking a bone such as a hip can dramatically shorten one’s life. Clearly, the effects of reduced hormone levels on bone and overall health are significant.

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Category: Disease Prevention, General Health, Health Risks, Medical Research, Symptom Information

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