Heart Disease and Early Menopause has A Dangerous Combination for Women’s Brains: Study

According to recent research, women who have heart disease risk factors and go through menopause before the age of fifty may be particularly vulnerable to cognitive loss and eventual dementia.

“While cardiovascular risk factors are known to increase a person’s risk for dementia, what is lesser known is why women have a greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease than men,” University of Toronto researcher Jennifer Rabin, the study’s lead author, stated. “We examined if the hormonal change of menopause, specifically the timing of menopause, may play a role in this increased risk.”

It did, as discovered by Rabin’s team.

According to a news release by the American Neurological Association, “we found that going through this hormonal change earlier in life while also having cardiovascular risk factors is linked to greater cognitive problems when compared to men of the same age.”

A well-established component of neurological health is preserving enough blood flow to and within the brain. Diabetes, smoking, and high blood pressure can all reduce blood flow to the brain.

Rabin’s group monitored the cognitive health of 16,720 participants in the latest study. The participants were evenly split by gender and averaged 65 years of age.

The female participants were then separated into three subgroups: those who went through menopause between the ages of 35 and 48, those who typically went through it between the ages of 49 and 52, and those who went through it later, between the ages of 53 and 65.

They also monitored heart-related risk factors for each participant, including high low-density lipoprotein (“bad”) cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, smoking, elevated blood pressure, and blood pressure medication prescriptions.

A battery of cognitive tests was also administered to each participant at the start and conclusion of the three-year trial.

The outcome showed that during the course of the three-year trial, women’s test scores appeared to decline in correlation with two factors: early menopause and increased cardiac risk.

Neither the average nor the late menopause groups’ female members displayed any such tendency.

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