A late start helps women live longer

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FAMILY TIES -

AC­CORD­ING to new Amer­i­can re­search, women who be­gin men­stru­at­ing af­ter the age of 12 and en­ter menopause af­ter the age of 50 are more likely to live to 90 years old.

A team of re­searchers from the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, San Diego School of Medicine in the US have linked fe­male life ex­pectancy to the length of their re­pro­duc­tive span.

Af­ter study­ing 16,000 women for 21 years, the sci­en­tists’ find­ings – pub­lished in the jour­nal Menopause – show that women who started men­stru­at­ing af­ter the age of 12 and en­tered menopause af­ter the age of 50 were more likely to live to 90, es­pe­cially those with more than 40 re­pro­duc­tive years be­tween their first and fi­nal men­strual pe­ri­ods.

Note that the av­er­age age of menopause is 51, but women can en­ter this phase of life be­tween the ages of 40 and 55.

Dr Aladdin Shadyab and col­leagues found that this group of women were at lower risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and aged in bet­ter health, which could ex­plain their longevity.

They also tended to be non-smok­ers – since smok­ing can lead to ear­lier menopause – and were less likely to have a his­tory of di­a­betes. Menopause, gen­er­ally, oc­curs one to two years ear­lier in smok­ers than non­smok­ers.

A sec­ond study of 124,000 women, pub­lished in the same jour­nal, found that late on­set of menopause – af­ter the age of 55 – in­creased the risk of de­vel­op­ing Type 2 di­a­betes by 12%. Ac­cord­ing to the study, the risk was low­est for women en­ter­ing menopause be­tween 46 and 55 years old.

Life­style fac­tors can af­fect the age at which women ex­pe­ri­ence menopause. Im­prov­ing di­ets, life­styles and qual­ity of life in Western coun­tries have gen­er­ally pushed back the age of on­set.

Fur­ther stud­ies are now re­quired to un­der­stand how ge­netic, en­vi­ron­men­tal and life­style fac­tors can ex­plain the link be­tween re­pro­duc­tive span and life ex­pectancy. – AFP-Re­laxnews

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