Objective. Early menopause is associated with an increased risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women increases following menopause. Because RA is associated with an increased risk of CVD, this study was undertaken to determine whether early menopause affects the risk of developing CVD in women with RA. Methods. A population-based inception cohort of 600 women with RA who fulfilled 1987 American College of Rheumatology criteria for RA between 1955 and 2007 and were age ≥ 45 years at diagnosis was assembled and followed. Age at menopause and duration of hormone replacement therapy, along with occurrence of CVD, was ascertained by review of medical records. Cox proportional hazard models compared women who underwent early menopause (natural or artificial menopause at age ≤ 45 yrs) to those within the cohort who did not undergo early menopause. Results. Of 600 women, 79 experienced early menopause. Women who underwent early menopause were at significantly higher risk for developing CVD when compared to women who did not (HR 1.56; 95% CI 1.08-2.26). Conclusion. The risk of CVD in women with RA was higher in those who experienced early menopause, and like other known risk factors should increase clinician concern for development of CVD in these patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Cardiovascular disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis