The menopausal transition does not appear to accelerate age-related increases in arterial stiffness
Objective Arterial stiffness is an independent marker of cardiovascular risk that increases with age, hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidemia, both for men and women (although more pronounced in women). This study was designed to establish whether menopause augments the age-dependent change. Methods The study evaluated pulse wave analysis and pulse wave velocity using applanation tonometry in 468 women (aged 40-80 years) sampled from the general population. In multiple linear regression models, age was the predominant correlate of increasing aortic augmentation pressure (p < 0.0001), augmentation index (p < 0.0001), augmentation index adjusted to a heart rate of 75 beats/min (p < 0.0001) and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (p < 0.0001). Results Analysis of covariance showed no significant difference in adjusted mean of augmentation pressure, augmentation index or pulse wave velocity between menopause groups (pre-, peri-, postmenopause). Adjusted means of augmentation pressure and pulse wave velocity were comparable between women on hormone therapy (n = 130) and non-users (n = 338). Conclusions The results of the present study challenge the assertion by some researchers that menopause accelerates age-dependent changes in arterial stiffness.