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Late natural menopause tied to higher diabetes risk

11 Jul 2018

There appears to be a link between later age at menopause and higher prevalence of diabetes in women, according to a recent China study.

The study included 17,076 natural postmenopausal women (mean age 48.94±3.83 years), of whom 1,288 had type 2 diabetes; the corresponding prevalence rate of diabetes was 7.54 percent. Diagnoses were delivered according to self-reported history (55.28 percent) or definite glucose values (44.72 percent).

Age-adjusted multivariable models showed that the risk of diabetes was significantly higher in those whose age at natural menopause was higher (53 vs 45–52 years: odds ratio [OR], 1.25; 95 percent CI, 1.07–1.46).

This relationship remained significant even after additional adjustments for socioeconomic status and health behaviours (adjusted OR, 1.25; 1.06–1.47) and physical measurements of body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (adjusted OR, 1.21; 1.03–1.43). Further adjustment for hypertension attenuated the significance, but the trend remained apparent (adjusted OR, 1.17; 0.99–1.39).

Subgroup analysis showed that the significant relationship was unaffected by BMI, smoking status, physical activity and the use of contraceptives. No significant changes were likewise observed after excluding participants with cancer and/or cardiovascular diseases.

In comparison, no significant differences were found when comparing those whose age at natural menopause were ≤44 vs 45–52 years.

“Although mechanisms accounting for the association between late menopause and increased diabetes risk among postmenopausal women are unclear, recent studies raised the possibility that the changes in hormone as well as body composition play an important role,” said researchers, noting that further studies are required to identify underlying mechanisms.

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