Association between hormonal changes at menopause and the risk of a coronary event: a longitudinal study

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Objective:To investigate the association of hormone levels at menopause, lifestyle variables, and body composition with the predicted 10-year risk of a coronary event, calculated using the PROCAM scoring system, in a population-based sample of Australian-born, middle-aged women.Design:A 9-year prospective study of 438 Australian-born women, who at baseline were aged 45 to 55 years and had menstruated in the prior 3 months. Interviews, fasting blood, and physical measurements were taken annually. The risk of an acute coronary event was calculated using the PROCAM scoring system (includes: age, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, smoking, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, family history of premature myocardial infarction, diabetes mellitus, and triglycerides).Results:Retention rate after 8 years of follow-up was 88% (n = 387). In women not using hormone therapy (HT): higher than average body mass index (BMI) (P < 0.001), BMI that increased (P < 0.005), lower than average estradiol levels (P < 0.005), estradiol levels that decreased (P < 0.001), and high free testosterone levels (P < 0.05) were associated with increased risk of a coronary event. There was a trend for high exercise frequency to be associated with a decreased risk (P < 0.07). After BMI and lifestyle variables were taken into account, use of HT did not have a significant effect on risk of a coronary event.Conclusion:In this longitudinal observational study of middle-aged Australian-born women, high BMI, an increase in BMI, high free testosterone, low estradiol, and a decrease in estradiol levels were the main determinants of increased risk of an acute coronary event, based on the PROCAM scoring system calculation. More frequent exercise tended to lower the risk.

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