ABSTRACT: In Taiwan, the Chin-Shan Community Cardiovascular Cohort (CCCC) was assessed prospectively to determine whether the changes in cardiovascular risk factors for women age 45--54 years are due to menopause. The average paired percentage changes that occurred between baseline (1990-1991) and follow-up (4 years later) in fasting serum lipids were compared in three groups of women including groups of 59 and 224 who were pre- and postmenopausal, respectively, and a group of 118 who had spontaneously stopped menstruating. Postmenopausal women had the least gain in body mass index (BMI), whereas, mainly premenopausal women had increased systolic blood pressure (P<0.05). All women had elevated total cholesterol (TC) levels, with the greatest elevation in women transitioning into menopause (P<0.001). Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels increased before and during the transition to menopause, but decreased after menopause (P<0.01). Age had significant association with changes in TC, triglyceride (TG) and LDL-C levels, whereas BMI had significant association with changes in TG, LDL-C, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels (P<0.05). After controlling for age and BMI, only differences in TC remained significant, with the greatest gain in women who stopped menstruating (12.9%) followed by pre- (6.5%) and postmenopausal women (4.8%). Changes in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and TG and HDL-C levels were not significantly different, but HDL-C levels declined between 11.5 and 14.7% in all groups. This study suggests an unfavorable effect of menopause on lipid metabolism, especially on the TC level, which was predominantly elevated during the transition to menopause. The decline of HDL-C is of concern.
Atherosclerosis 05/2002; 161(2):409-15. · 3.79 Impact Factor