A new Oxford study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation has revealed that the age at which a woman experiences her first menstrual cycle could determine her tendency to develop heart diseases and its complications in later life.

Women who experience their first menstrual cycle at age 10 or lesser may be at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, and those that also had their first menstrual experience at age 17 or older may equally be at the same risks of developing high blood pressure, and strokes among others.

About 1.3 million white women aged 50 to 64 years old were analyzed over a period of a decade, and the research reveals that only those women that had their first period at age 13 had the least possibility of developing strokes, high blood pressure, and heart diseases.

“The size of our study, the wide range of ages considered, and the vascular diseases being examined made it unique and informative,” said Dexter Canoy, study lead author and cardiovascular epidemiologist at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford in the UK. “Childhood obesity, widespread in many industrialised countries, is linked particularly to early age at which the first menstrual cycle occurs. Public health strategies to tackle childhood obesity may possibly prevent the lowering of the average age of first menstrual cycle, which may in turn reduce their risk of developing heart disease over the long term.”

The research showed that women with first menstrual cycle at 10 years of age or lesser, and those at 17 years of age and older, had 27% more hospitalizations as well as deaths related to heart conditions; and 16% more hospitalizations or stroke-related deaths; as well as 20% more hospitalizations as a result of hypertension or deaths related to its complications.

This result of this study relates more to lean, overweight, and obese women, as well as past or current smokers within lower, middle, or higher levels of societal life.

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