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Menopause As Heart Disease Risk Factor

Posted on March 7, 2017, 6 a.m. in Women's Health Cardio-Vascular

Late- and post-menopausal women have significantly greater volumes of fat around their hearts, as compared to pre-menopausal women.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among women, for which risks increase after age 50 – the average age for menopause. Samar R. El Khoudary, from the University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, USA), and colleagues assessed data collected on 456 women, mean age 50.75 years, enrolled in The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) Heart Study.  Data analysis revealed that late- and post-menopausal women have significantly greater volumes of fat around their hearts - a risk factor for heart disease - than their pre-menopausal counterparts.  The study authors posit that: “Perhaps [cardiovascular fat] plays a role in the higher risk of [coronary heart disease] reported in women after menopause.”

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El Khoudary SR, Shields KJ, Janssen I, Hanely C, Budoff M, Barinas-Mitchell E, Everson-Rose SA, Powell LH, Matthews KA. “Cardiovascular Fat, Menopause and Sex Hormones in Women: The SWAN Cardiovascular Fat Ancillary Study.”  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Jul 15:JC20152110.

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