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Am J Epidemiol. 2000 Mar 15;151(6):584-93.

Longitudinal study of risk factors for coronary heart disease across the menopausal transition.

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Department of Biostatistics, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA.


The patterns of change in blood lipids, diastolic blood pressure, body mass index, smoking and drinking behaviors, and exercise were examined in an ongoing longitudinal study from 1991 to 1995 of 150 middle-aged Melbourne, Australia, women as they passed through menopause. Changes in risk factors over time were examined with reference to time of the final menstrual period (FMP). Random effects models were fitted with adjustments for repeated measures and other covariates, including age. There were overall net increases between 3 years before and the 3 years after menopause of 0.25 mmol/liter for low density lipoprotein cholesterol, 0.05 mmol/liter for high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL cholesterol), 0.34 mmol/liter for triglycerides, 0.12 kg/m2 for body mass index, and 0.48 mmHg for diastolic pressure. The proportion of drinkers decreased by 13%, that of smokers increased by 17%, and that of women who exercised at least once a week increased by 6%. The only change dependent on the FMP was a significant decrease in HDL cholesterol (counterbalanced by a similar rise in HDL cholesterol in the year before the FMP), and the rate of decrease was maximal around 9 months after menses ceased, with an instantaneous estimate of slope of 0.55 mmol/liter per year.

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