A study of over a million women has shown that girls who had their first menstrual cycle at age 10 or younger, or age 17 or older, may be at higher risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and complications such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems.
Having the first menstrual cycle at the age of 13 appears to be the safest, noted the study based on the data collected from 1.3 million women aged 50 to 64 years old.
“The size of our study, the wide range of ages considered, and the vascular diseases being examined made it unique and informative,” said lead author Dexter Canoy of University of Oxford.
The researchers analysed data collected from 1.3 million women aged 50 to 64 years old to compare women who had their first menstrual cycle at age 13 with women with their first menstrual cycle at age 10 or younger, or age 17 or older. The study noticed that there was a 27 percent more hospitalisations or deaths due to heart disease in the latter group.
The latter group had also 16 percent more hospitalisations or deaths from stroke and 20 percent more hospitalisations with high blood pressure, or deaths due to these complications.
The effect of age of the first occurrence of menstruation on heart disease was consistently found among lean, over-weight, and obese women, among never, past or current smokers, and among women in lower, middle, or higher socioeconomic groups.
As childhood obesity is also linked particularly to early age at which the first menstrual cycle occurs, preventing the lowering of the average age of first menstrual cycle could have important implications for future health of the children, said the findings of the study, which has been published in the journal Circulation.(IANS)