Things your first period can tell you about your health – This article was written by Carey Rossi and provided by our partners at Prevention. Do you remember when you got your first period? If not, think harder because your doctor may soon be asking. In the last year, research has linked the age of first menstruation to health risks ranging from allergies and heart disease, to diabetes and cancer.
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Scientists don’t yet know the exact connection, but it may involve your weight at the time your period arrived. “Estrogen is tied to fat,” says Taraneh Shirazian, M.D., a gynecologist at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. So if you began menstruating at a young age, this could be a clue that you reached your “normal” adult weight early, thereby setting yourself up for obesity and all its related health woes later. Or it might just be genetics at work. “Women who have earlier first periods may have some factors that predispose them to disease,” explains Shirazian. Until we know for sure, here’s what the arrival of your menses might divulge about your health risks.
1. Heart Disease
According to a new study involving 1.3 million women published in the journal Circulation, those who started menstruating at age 13 had the lowest risk for heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. (Here are 13 ways to lower blood pressure naturally.) Conversely, those who began at age 10 or younger (or 17 and older) had the highest risk, specifically 27 percent more for heart disease, 20 percent for high blood pressure, and 16 percent for stroke.