Late onset of puberty, as well as a late arrival of menopause is likely to increase the chances of women living up to 90 years, a new study has concluded.
The research found that women who started menstruation at age 12 or older ― and experienced menopause at age 50 or older ― had increased odds of living to 90-years-old, said study author Aladdin Shadyab at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine.
“Our team found that women who started menstruation at a later age were less likely to have certain health issues, like coronary heart disease, and those who experienced menopause later in life were more likely to be in excellent health overall, which may be a possible explanation for our findings,” said Shadyab in a press release.
Women who started menstruation and experienced menopause at a later age were also less likely to be smokers or have a history of diabetes.
“Factors, such as smoking, can damage the cardiovascular system and ovaries, which can result in earlier menopause. Women with later menopause and a longer reproductive lifespan may have decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases,” said Shadyab.
The study, published online July 27, 2016, in Menopause, is the first to evaluate the association of reproductive factors with survival to a specific advanced age, such as 90 years old.
The study looked at approximately 16,000 participants in what was a racially and ethnically diverse group from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), a national longitudinal investigation of postmenopausal women who were followed for 21 years. Of this group, 55 percent survived to age 90.
Other research published earlier this week had a different take on menopause. Two studies out of UCLA have shown that menopause and its partner in crime ― the insomnia that comes with it ― can make women age faster.
The dual findings, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Biological Psychiatry, suggest that early menopause and insomnia could increase women’s risk for aging-related diseases and earlier death.