Age at Menopause, Reproductive Life Span, and Type 2 Diabetes Risk: Results from the EPIC-InterAct study

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Age at menopause is an important determinant of future health outcomes, but little is known about its relationship with type 2 diabetes. We examined the associations of menopausal age and reproductive life span (menopausal age minus menarcheal age) with diabetes risk.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS

Data were obtained from the InterAct study, a prospective case-cohort study nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. A total of 3,691 postmenopausal type 2 diabetic case subjects and 4,408 subcohort members were included in the analysis, with a median follow-up of 11 years. Prentice weighted Cox proportional hazards models were adjusted for age, known risk factors for diabetes, and reproductive factors, and effect modification by BMI, waist circumference, and smoking was studied.

RESULTS

Mean (SD) age of the subcohort was 59.2 (5.8) years. After multivariable adjustment, hazard ratios (HRs) of type 2 diabetes were 1.32 (95% CI 1.04–1.69), 1.09 (0.90–1.31), 0.97 (0.86–1.10), and 0.85 (0.70–1.03) for women with menopause at ages <40, 40–44, 45–49, and ≥55 years, respectively, relative to those with menopause at age 50–54 years. The HR per SD younger age at menopause was 1.08 (1.02–1.14). Similarly, a shorter reproductive life span was associated with a higher diabetes risk (HR per SD lower reproductive life span 1.06 [1.01–1.12]). No effect modification by BMI, waist circumference, or smoking was observed (P interaction all > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Early menopause is associated with a greater risk of type 2 diabetes.

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