MONDAY, March 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Women who enter menopause very early have a greater risk for developing dementia later in life, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2022 Scientific Sessions, held from March 1 to 4 in Chicago.

Wenting Hao, M.D., from Shandong University in Jinan, China, and colleagues used data from the U.K. Biobank to identify 153,291 postmenopausal women to assess whether earlier menopause is related to a higher risk for and earlier onset of dementia.

The researchers found that 1,688 women developed all-cause dementia during an average follow-up of 11.7 years. The risk for dementia was increased in women with very early menopause (younger than 40 years) compared with women with a menopausal age of 50 to 51 years (hazard ratios [95 percent confidence intervals], 1.35 [1.22 to 1.91], 1.07 [0.89 to 1.28], 1.08 [0.94 to 1.25], 0.81 [0.70 to 0.94], and 0.91 [0.78 to 1.06] for ages younger than 40, 40 to 44, 45 to 49, 52 to 55, and older than 55 years, respectively). Women with early menopause (younger than 45 years) had a higher risk for experiencing all-cause dementia before age 65 years (hazard ratio, 1.31; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.07 to 1.72; P < 0.001) compared with women with a menopausal age of 50 to 51 years.

“Being aware of this increased risk can help women practice strategies to prevent dementia and to work with their physicians to closely monitor their cognitive status as they age,” Hao said in a statement.

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