Women who have a healthy lifestyle during the menopausal transition experience lower levels of subclinical atherosclerosis later in life, a new study found. Researchers used self-reported data on smoking, diet, and physical activity from 1,143 women in the Study of Women’s Health Across the National to construct a 10-year average Health Lifestyle Score (HLS) during the midlife. Markers of subclinical atherosclerosis were measured 14 years after baseline and included common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CCA-IMT), adventitial diameter (CCA-AD), and carotid plaque. They found:
- Women who had a healthy lifestyle composed of abstinence from smoking, healthy diet, and regular physical activity during the menopausal transition had lower levels of subclinical atherosclerosis later in life.
- The prevalence of these healthy behaviors is extremely low in midlife women.
- Abstinence from smoking had the strongest association with subclinical atherosclerosis.
Wang D, Jackson EA, Karvonen-Gutierrez CA, et al. Healthy lifestyle during the midlife is prospectively associated with less subclinical carotid atherosclerosis: The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation. [Published online ahead of print November 28, 2018]. J Am Heart Assoc. doi:10.1161/JAHA.118.010405.