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Heart Disease Risk Factors May Increase With Menopause

Researchers advocate increased surveillance of woman's risk factors before and after last period

MONDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- The risk factors for coronary heart disease increase in women in the year before and the year after their final menstrual period (FMP), making that transition a crucial time to monitor lipid profiles and lifestyle risk factors, according to a study in the Dec. 15/22 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Karen A. Matthews, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues used data on 1,054 minority (African-American, Hispanic, Japanese, or Chinese) and Caucasian women from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN) to compare models for coronary heart disease risk assessment within a year before and after the occurrence of their FMP.

Across all ethnic groups, the researchers found that total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B showed substantial increases in the year before and the year after FMP, which is consistent with menopause-induced changes. Other risk factors were in line with a linear model, which was indicative of chronological aging.

"This study underscores the need to closely monitor lipid profiles of premenopausal and perimenopausal women, and the importance of emphasizing proven lifestyle measures and therapeutic interventions before the menopause transition to counter and possibly prevent this adverse change in lipids associated with menopause itself," the authors write.

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