Young Age at First Menstrual Cycle Linked to Heightened Diabetes Risk in Mid-Life

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.

Starting menstrual cycles at a young age—before the age of 13—is linked to a heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes in midlife, finds US research published online in the journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health.

And it also seems to be associated with an increased risk of having a stroke before the age of 65 in those with the disease, particularly those who started having periods before the age of 10 or younger, the findings indicate.

Some 17,377 women aged between 20 and 65 were included in the study, all of whom specified the age at which they had had their first menstrual cycle. This was categorized as 10 or younger, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 and older.

Of the total, 1,773 (10%) reported a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. And of these, 205 (11.5%) reported some type of cardiovascular disease.

Starting periods before the average age of 13 was associated with a heightened risk of type 2 diabetes, after accounting for a range of potentially influential factors, including age, race/ethnicity, education, motherhood, menopausal status and family history of diabetes, smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption and weight (BMI).

This ranged from 32% greater (10 or younger) through 14% greater (age 11) to 29% greater (age 12).

Among women with diabetes, earlier age at first menstrual cycle was associated with a heightened risk of stroke, although not cardiovascular disease in general, after accounting for the same set of potentially influential factors.

Very early age at first menstrual cycle—10 or younger—was associated with a more than doubling in stroke risk among women below the age of 65 with diabetes, after similar adjustments for influential factors.

This is an observational study, and as such, can’t establish causal factors. But, the researchers suggest, “Earlier age at [first menstrual cycle] may be one of early life indicators of the cardiometabolic disease trajectory in women.”

Source: MedicalXpress

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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