Data were examined from women surveyed in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging to evaluate whether menopause is an independent risk factor for the development of metabolic syndrome (MetS) or its components, including hypertension, central obesity, dyslipidemia, or elevated glycated hemoglobin.
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of women aged 45-85 years old that participated in the baseline data of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging Comprehensive Cohort collected from 2012 to 2015. Modified Poisson regression with robust error variance was used to estimate the crude and adjusted relative risks (aRRs) of MetS in postmenopausal women compared to premenopausal women.
Among 12,611 women analyzed, 10,035 (79.6%) had undergone menopause and 2,576 (20.4%) were premenopausal. Postmenopausal women were more likely to meet criteria for MetS compared to premenopausal women (32.6% vs 20.5%, P < 0.001). Using the MetS criteria with a lower waist circumference threshold, the prevalence of MetS was higher at 38.2% among postmenopausal women and 23.2% among premenopausal women (P < 0.001). After adjusting for age, body mass index, and other covariates, the occurrence of menopause was not associated with a significantly higher relative risk of MetS, using the unified criteria for MetS (aRR 1.09 [95% CI: 0.99-1.19]). Women with menopause had a significantly higher relative risk of MetS when using criteria with a lower waist circumference (aRR 1.10 [95% CI: 1.01-1.19]). Menopause was also associated with a higher risk of impaired glucose tolerance (aRR 1.42 [95% CI: 1.26-1.59]), elevated blood pressure (aRR 1.12 [95% CI: 1.03-1.21]), and elevated triglycerides (aRR 1.17 [95% CI: 1.08-1.26]).
Menopause is associated with an increased risk of MetS, independent of age. Lifestyle interventions targeted at women with MetS are known to prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular risk. Perimenopause may be an important preventative care opportunity to assess metabolic risk factors and improve health and longevity of Canadian women.