New study links early menopause with heart disease and stroke

A study of more than 2,500 women ages 45 to 84 reported that those who experienced early menopause — either naturally or from surgical removal of the ovaries — doubled their chance of developing heart disease or stroke. This was true for women of all ethnicities.

What if I’ve had an early menopause?

I firmly believe that women who experience premature menopause should be on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) at least until age 50 — the average age of menopause. I know what you’re thinking…the Women’s Health Initiative said HRT increased a woman’s risk of heart disease and stroke. But further analysis of the data has shown estrogen doesn’t increase the risk of heart disease and may even lessen the risk for some. After menopause, the pros and cons of continuing HRT should be discussed with your physician. No two women are the same and HRT therapy needs to be individualized based on a woman’s medical history.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women

Finally, women need to know the signs of heart disease. Just as important, be sure to live a healthy life that includes a well balanced diet and daily exercise. If you’re a smoker, now’s the time to STOP.

Contributed by Lisa Larkin, MD, FACP, NCMP and James A. Simon, MD, CCD, NCMP, FACOG

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Photo Credit: HealthNewsJournal

Originally published October 22, 2012