HealthDay News — Women who experience early menopause are at increased risk for osteoporosis later in life compared with women with who reach menopause after the age of 47, recently published data suggest.

Those who experienced menopause before the age of 47 years had nearly double the odds of developing osteoporosis by the time they turned 77 years old (risk ratio=1.83; 95% CI: 1.22–2.74), Ola Svejme, MD, from Lund University in in Malmö, Sweden, and colleagues, reported online in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Risk for fragility fracture (RR=1.68; 95% CI: 1.05–2.57 1.68) and mortality after the age of 77 years were also increased (RR= 1.59; 95% CI 1.04–2.36) in this population, the researchers found. The prospective evaluation involved 390 white women, aged 48 at baseline. Menopause status was assessed at baseline and women were classified into early (before age 47) and late (age 47 or older) menopause.

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Bone mineral density in the forearm was evaluated by single-photon absorptiometry (SPA) at baseline. At age 77, bone mineral density was reassessed in the forearm by SPA and measured in the proximal femur and lumbar spine by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Mortality rate and fracture incidence were recorded up to age 82.

“We can conclude that a menopause before age 47 is associated with an increased risk of mortality, fragility fractures and osteoporosis at age 77,” the researchers wrote.

Svejme O et al. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.  2012; doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2012.03324.x