Aging, Not Menopause, Raises Women's Heart Risks, Study
TUESDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- There's no link between
menopause and increased risk of death from heart disease, says a
study that challenges a long-held medical belief that the rate of
cardiovascular death in women spikes after menopause.
Aging alone, not the hormonal impact of menopause, explains the
increasing number of deaths among older women, according to the
Johns Hopkins researchers.
The new findings could affect how heart health is assessed in
premenopausal women, who were previously believed to have a low
risk of death from heart attack, the authors pointed out in the
study published in the Sept. 6 issue of the
"Our data show there is no big shift toward higher fatal heart attack rates after menopause," study leader Dhananjay Vaidya, an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a Hopkins news release.
"What we believe is going on is that the cells of the heart and arteries are aging like every other tissue in the body, and that is why we see more and more heart attacks every year as women age. Aging itself is an adequate explanation and the arrival of menopause with its altered hormonal impact does not seem to play a role," Vaidya added.
In the study, the investigators analyzed death statistics for
people born in England, Wales and the United States between 1916
and 1945. Among women, increases in death rates at the time of
menopause were not above and beyond the steady curve associated
"Special attention should be paid to heart health in women due to their overall lifetime risk," Vaidya concluded, "not just after the time of menopause."
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
women and heart disease.
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