Natural or surgically related early menopause (before age 46 years) is a potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), making the need to modify other CVD risk factors even more important for this group.

Researchers analyzed data from 2,509 women aged 45 to 84 years at baseline. A total of 446 participants (18%) reported early natural menopause, with 247 (10%) experiencing early surgical menopause (removal of both ovaries).

Women who underwent early menopause—either natural or surgical—carried more than twice the risk for MI, resuscitated cardiac arrest, definite angina, probable angina, stroke, stroke death, coronary heart disease death, or other atherosclerotic/CVD death than did women who reached menopause at a later age.

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The findings were presented in June at the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society in San Diego.