Researchers analyzed data collected from 1.3 million women aged 50 to 64 years old, who were mostly white. After over a decade of observation, those women who had their first menstrual cycle at the age of 13 had the least risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure
Compared to women who had their first menstrual cycle at age 13, women with their first menstrual cycle at age 10 or younger, or age 17 or older, had up to:
- 27 percent more hospitalizations or deaths due to heart disease;
- 16 percent more hospitalizations or deaths from stroke; and
- 20 percent more hospitalizations with high blood pressure, or deaths due to its complications.
The effect of age of the first occurrence of menstruation on heart disease was consistently found among lean, over-weight, and obese women, among never, past or current smokers, and among women in lower, middle, or higher socioeconomic groups.
For the majority of these women, however, their additional risk of developing a vascular disease was small. Of the million women, only four percent of them had their first menstrual cycle occurring at age 10 or younger, and only one percent at age 17 or older.