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Women who begin their period late or go through early menopause have an increased risk of dementia, a new study says.
Researchers from Kaiser Permanente in California found women who had their first menstrual cycle at age 16 or older were nearly 25 percent more likely to be diagnosed with the age-related brain disease.
Age - Percent - Risk - Dementia
And those who entered menopause prior to age 47 had an almost 20 percent greater risk of developing dementia.
'This adds to a growing body of research that shows dementia doesn't just happen when you're 65 or older,' Dr Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach at the Alzheimer's Association, who was not involved in the study, told DailyMail.com.
Things - Teenager - Dementia - Risk
'And it shows that things that happen even when you're a teenager can affect your dementia risk.'
An estimated 5.7 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer's disease in 2019. Of this number, two-thirds are women.
Number - Alzheimer - Association
By 2050, this number is estimated to rise to almost 14 million, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
Sufferers experience a decline in cognitive, behavioral and physical abilities and there is no cure.
Women - Percent - Dementia - Lifetimes - Men
Women are 50 percent more likely to develop dementia over their lifetimes than men.
'It's important to study any risk factors that are specific to women that could eventually lead us to potential points of intervention,' said lead author Dr Paola Gilsanz, a staff scientist in the division of research at Kaiser Permanente.
Study - Neurology - Team - Kaiser - Patients
For the study, published in Neurology, the team looked at more than 6,000 female Kaiser patients.
The participants underwent medical exams and completed questionnaires that asked when they had their first period, if they had gone through menopause and if they had had a hysterectomy, an operation to remove all or part of the uterus.
Researchers - Woman - Number - Years
Next, researchers calculated each woman's number of reproductive years.
About 42 percent of the women developed dementia...
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