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BACKGROUND: Previous studies, mostly of Western women, have reported inconsistent findings on the association of menopause characteristics (status, age, and time since menopause) and total reproductive years with risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). METHODS AND RESULTS: The China Kadoorie Biobank recruited 302 632 women in 2004 to 2008 from 10 regions across China. During 9-year follow-up, 19 393 incident cases of stroke, 18 611 of ischemic heart disease, and 4978 CVD deaths occurred. Cox regression yielded adjusted hazard ratios relating each menopause characteristic and total reproductive years to CVD risk. Among 274 233 women with no prior CVD at baseline, 134 010 were naturally postmenopausal women (mean [SD] age at menopause of 48.6 [4.0] years and total reproductive years 32.7 [4.4]). Compared with premenopausal women, naturally peri- or postmenopausal women were at a higher risk of either fatal or nonfatal CVD. Among women who had had menopause, inverse associations were observed between age at menopause and risks of CVD mortality, incident ischemic heart disease, stroke, and subtypes of stroke, with 1.5% higher risk of CVD death (P<0.001), 0.7% for incident ischemic heart disease (P=0.002), and 0.5% for incident stroke (P=0.02) for every 1 year lower age at menopause. Compared with women who had menopause at age 48 to 50 years, lower age at menopause (ie, <43 years) was associated with 14% higher risk of CVD death and 6% higher risks of both incident ischemic heart disease and stroke. Higher risks of both fatal and nonfatal CVD were also found in women with 5 to 10, 10 to 15, 15 to 20, or >20 years since menopause compared with <5 years since menopause. Total reproductive years were inversely associated with risks of both fatal and nonfatal CVD, with 1.4% lower risk of CVD death per additional reproductive year (P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Women with younger age at menopause, longer time since menopause, or fewer total reproductive years had a higher risk of CVD.

Original publication




Journal article


Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes

Publication Date





China, cardiovascular disease, female, postmenopause, stroke, Adult, Cardiovascular Diseases, China, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Menopause, Middle Aged, Morbidity, Reproduction, Retrospective Studies, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires, Survival Rate, Time Factors, Women's Health