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Original research
Age at period cessation and trajectories of cardiovascular risk factors across mid and later life
  1. Linda Marie O'Keeffe1,2,3,
  2. Diana Kuh4,
  3. Abigail Fraser1,2,
  4. Laura D Howe1,2,
  5. Debbie Lawlor1,2,
  6. Rebecca Hardy4,5
  1. 1 MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  2. 2 Population Health Science, Bristol Medical School, Bristol, UK
  3. 3 School of Public Health, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  4. 4 MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL, London, UK
  5. 5 CLOSER, UCL Institute of Education, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Linda Marie O'Keeffe, MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK; linda.okeeffe{at}bristol.ac.uk

Abstract

Objective To examine the association between age at period cessation and trajectories of anthropometry, blood pressure, lipids and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) from midlife to age 69 years.

Methods We used data from the UK Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development to examine the association between age at period cessation and trajectories of systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) from 36 to 69 years and trajectories of triglyceride, low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and HbA1c from 53 to 69 years.

Results We found no evidence that age at period cessation was associated with trajectories of log triglyceride, LDL-C and HDL-C from 53 to 69 years and trajectories of SBP or DBP from 36 to 69 years, regardless of whether period cessation occurred naturally or due to hysterectomy. While we found some evidence of associations of age at period cessation with log BMI, log WC and log HbA1c, patterns were not consistent and differences were small at age 69 years, with confidence intervals that spanned the null value.

Conclusion How and when women experience period cessation is unlikely to adversely affect conventional cardiovascular risk factors across mid and later life. Women and clinicians concerned about the impact of type and timing of period cessation on conventional cardiovascular intermediates from midlife should be reassured that the impact over the long term is small.

  • epidemiology
  • cardiac risk factors and prevention
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Footnotes

  • Contributors LOK, RH and DK designed the study. LOK analysed the data and prepared the manuscript for publication. All authors contributed to critical revisions of the manuscript.

  • Funding LMOK is supported by a UK Medical Research Council Population Health Scientist fellowship (MR/M014509/1) and a Health Research Board (HRB) of Ireland Emerging Investigator Award (EIA-2019-007). This work was also supported by the UK MRC, which provides core funding for the MRC NSHD and supports DK and RH with MC_UU_12019/1, MC_UU_12019/2, MC_UU_12019/4. LDH and AF are supported by Career Development Awards from the UK Medical Research Council (grants MR/M020894/1 and MR/M009351/1, respectively). AF, LDH and DAL work in a unit that receives funds from the UK Medical Research Council (grant MC_UU_00011/3, MC_UU_00011/6).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon submission and approval of a research proposal. Further information can be found at https://www.nshd.mrc.ac.uk/data/

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