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This study found that, on average, women with type 1 diabetes start menopause at 40.7 years, 9.2 years earlier than their non-diabetic sisters. Researchers theorize that premature menopause is not a diabetic complication, but that type 1 diabetes is a form of accelerated aging that may contribute to premature ovarian failure.
People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, and premature menopause makes the risk even greater. As a result, these women should seriously discuss hormone replacement therapy and other heart-healthy lifestyle measures with their physicians urges Janice Dorman, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
"The take-home message of this study for women with diabetes is that they should be extra vigilant about adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, by not smoking, eating a low-fat diet, exercising regularly, trying to maintain ideal weight and keeping their diabetes in good control," says Dorman.
The study also found that women with type 1 diabetes tended to be one year older than other women when they had their first menstrual period (13.5 vs. 12.5 years old) and were more likely to have longer menstrual cycles before the age of 30.
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