Age and menopausal status both contribute to cardiovascular risk

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Takeaway

  • Both chronological aging and menopausal status contribute to the cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk profile of aging women.

Why this matters

  • Increased risk for CVD mainly at the level of lipid metabolism and not BP.
  • Close monitoring of changing lipid profiles in postmenopausal women may be warranted. 

Key results

  • Comparing postmenopausal women aged 45 y with postmenopausal women aged 50 y, younger women had lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides.   
  • Comparing postmenopausal and premenopausal women in the 46 to 55 y age range, postmenopausal women had higher LDL and triglycerides.
  • Comparing naturally postmenopausal women with premenopausal women in the 29 to 52 y age range, BPs were lower in postmenopausal women.  
  • Comparing women with surgical menopause to all others in the 32 to 52 y age range, BMI, triglycerides, and LDL were higher in women with surgical menopause. 

Study design

  • Cohort taken from LifeLines Cohort Study, a multi-disciplinary prospective population-based cohort study of 167,729.
  • 63,466 women were included and classified as premenopausal, perimenopausal, or postmenopausal and compared.
  • Height, weight, BP, fasting lipids, and glucose obtained.
  • Questionnaires provided data on contraception, hormonal therapy, smoking, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Limitations

  • Only associations can be made, causality cannot be determined.