We're keeping an eye on the research.
According to recent research, women who enter menopause early – before the age of 40 — are more likely to develop dementia later in life than women who experience menopause later in life, around the age of 50.
The study, which was presented at an American Heart Association meeting on March 1, 2022, looked at health data from 153,291 women in the United Kingdom. Between 2006 and 2010, participants (average age 60) gave their genetic and health information to a big biological database.
The researchers looked at which of the patients went on to develop dementia of any kind, including Alzheimer's and vascular dementia (caused by impaired blood flow to the brain). They then calculated the relationship between dementia risk and menopausal age.
According to the study, women who started menopause at the age of 45 had a 30% higher chance of being diagnosed with dementia before the age of 65 than those who stopped menstruating at the age of 50. (the average age at which menstrual periods stop in American and British women).
Because this is an observational study, it is impossible to pinpoint a specific cause for the association between earlier menopause and a higher risk of dementia. While the onset of lower estrogen levels at a younger age could be an influence, further research is needed to fully understand estrogen's impact. Importantly, the study did not include data on dementia in the family.
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