Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

No link betweem menopause and increased risk of fatal heart

06.09.2011
Johns Hopkins researchers say data show aging alone, not hormonal impact of menopause, explains increasing number of deaths as women age

Contradicting the long-held medical belief that the risk of cardiovascular death for women spikes sharply after menopause, new research from Johns Hopkins suggests instead that heart disease mortality rates in women progress at a constant rate as they age.

The findings, published in BMJ, the British medical journal, could have implications for how heart health is assessed in pre-menopausal women, who were previously believed to be at negligible risk of death from heart attack.

"Our data show there is no big shift toward higher fatal heart attack rates after menopause," says Dhananjay Vaidya, Ph.D., an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the study's leader. "What we believe is going on is that the cells of the heart and arteries are aging like every other tissue in the body, and that is why we see more and more heart attacks every year as women age. Aging itself is an adequate explanation and the arrival of menopause with its altered hormonal impact does not seem to play a role."

Menopause clearly plays a role in other diseases for women, the researchers found. For example, Vaidya says, the rate of breast cancer mortality decelerates at menopause, probably because of hormonal changes.

To reach its conclusions, Vaidya's team analyzed mortality statistics for people born in England, Wales and the United States between 1916 and 1945. They followed similar groups of people as they aged and found that, at the time of menopause in each cohort, there were no increases in female mortality rates above and beyond the steady curve that is expected from aging, he says. Vaidya says his team also found that the number of women who die each year from heart disease increases exponentially at roughly 8 percent per year. The statistical death rate curve stays steady throughout life, he says, increasing risk annually in the same way compound interest increases a bank account balance over time. Absolute mortality — the actual number of deaths — increases at all ages with no abrupt change at menopause.

Also surprising, Vaidya says, is what he and his team learned about men. It has long been known that men are at risk of heart disease mortality from a much earlier age than women. Vaidya says he found that the mortality curve for men under the age of 45 actually increases by 30 percent a year, only to slow after that age to roughly 5 percent a year — similar to the rate throughout the lifetime in women.

The data suggest that something biological may be happening to younger men that is harming their hearts. "Instead of looking at menopause, what we should be looking at is what is happening biologically to men over time," Vaidya says. "We don't have an answer. Good research always creates more questions."

Rapid progress in the understanding the effects of aging on cells — most notably the concept of shrinking telomere length — could account for some of the gender differences, Vaidya suggests. Telomeres are found at the end of each chromosome in the body and act as shields that protect important genes from assault. Telomeres shrink every time they are copied, which occurs every time cells divide. As telomeres get shorter, there is the chance that the genes at the end of the chromosome will get damaged, and if they are, they will not recover, leading to the damaging effects of aging.

Such may be the case in heart disease mortality. Previous studies have shown that telomere lengths are similar in male and female babies, but become significantly shorter in young adult men as compared to young adult women, which could account for the finding that men have increased risk of cardiovascular mortality at younger ages. At later ages, telomeres shorten at similar rates in men and women, which could account for their similar heart disease mortality rate increases during older ages.

The researchers also found good news: Each successive birth cohort had lower total and heart disease mortality over their lifetime, owing to better nutrition, lifestyle, preventive care, drugs and other heart disease treatments.

Meanwhile, Vaidya says, physicians need to assess cardiovascular health in women from an early age, institute healthy heart habits and preventive care. "Special attention should be paid to heart health in women due to their overall lifetime risk," he says, "not just after the time of menopause."

Other Hopkins researchers involved in the study include Diane M. Becker, M.P.H., Sc.D.; Rasika A. Mathias, Sc.D.; and Pamela Ouyang, M.B.B.S.

For more information:
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/gim/faculty/vaidya.html

Stephanie Desmon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhmi.edu

Further reports about: heart disease mortality rate oak mortality rates telomeres

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>