We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the associations between menarcheal age and all-cause and cardiovascular death. Medline, Embase, Scopus, and Web of Knowledge were searched for articles published prior to March 2013 reporting on the associations between menarcheal age and death from all causes or from cardiovascular disease (total cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease (IHD), and stroke) in adult women. Nine articles were eligible for inclusion; these reported 5 estimates each for death from all causes and total cardiovascular death, 6 estimates for IHD, and 7 estimates for death from stroke. Our meta-analysis showed that each 1-year increase in age at menarche was associated with a 3% lower relative risk of death from all causes (pooled hazard ratio = 0.97, 95% confidence interval: 0.96, 0.98) with low heterogeneity (I(2) = 32.2%). Meta-analysis of 2 cohorts showed a higher risk of death from all causes for women who experienced early menarche (at <12 years of age) versus "not early" menarche (at ≥ 12 years of age) (pooled hazard ratio = 1.23, 95% confidence interval: 1.10, 1.38; I(2) = 0%). An inverse association between age at menarche and death from IHD was observed only among nonsmoking populations or populations with low prevalence of smoking. We found no evidence of association between age at menarche and death from all cardiovascular diseases or stroke. Early menarche was consistently associated with higher risk of death from all causes. Further studies are needed to clarify the role of menarcheal age on cardiovascular outcomes and to investigate the potential modifying role of smoking.
Bibliographical note© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
- Age Factors
- Cardiovascular Diseases/mortality
- Middle Aged
- Proportional Hazards Models
- Risk Factors