Link between length of reproductive life span and heart health

A new study recently published in JAMA Cardiology has found a link between the length of the reproductive life span and risk of cardiovascular events.

The meta-analysis, which pooled data from more than 300,000 women across 12 studies found that if the time between a woman’s first period and menopause was fewer than 30 years there was a 71 per cent increased risk of heart disease and stroke, compared to women with a reproductive life span of 36 to 38 years.

The researchers also found an association between age at menarche and reproductive life span, with women who have both a short reproductive life span (less than 33 years) and early menarche (age <11 years) having the highest risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The authors of the study conclude: “Short reproductive life span [is] associated with an increased risk of nonfatal CVD events in midlife, and the risk [is] significantly higher for women with early age at menarche.”

These results suggest that it may be even more important for women who had their first period early, or who reached menopause earlier in life, to follow a heart healthy diet and lifestyle to help reduce their risk of heart disease.

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