The age at which a girl attains puberty can influence her risk of developing heart disease in the future, latest research shows.
A study published in journal Circulation has linked an early or late menarche -- the first menstrual bleeding -- with increased risk of heart diseases, strokes and high blood pressure in women.
The puberty process normally starts between the ages 10 and 14 in girls. In the new study, researchers found that women who attained menarche at age 10 or younger; 17 or older were at greater risks of various deadly diseases than women who entered puberty at 13 years of age.
Dexter Canoy and colleagues from the University of Oxford in UK studied 1.3 million women aged between 50 and 64 years. About 4% of these women had an early menarche, while 1% had it late.
An early or late onset of puberty or first menstrual cycle was associated with more hospitalisations and deaths from heart disease (27%), stroke (16%) and blood pressure (20%).
"The size of our study, the wide range of ages considered, and the vascular diseases being examined made it unique and informative," lead author of the study Dr Canoy, cardiovascular epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, said in a news release.
Reports show that these days, children enter puberty much earlier than in the past. Various factors have been blamed for this occurrence, including obesity, hormone in food, exposure to pesticides and phthalates used in cosmetics and plastics, according to Mercola. com.
"Childhood obesity, widespread in many industrialised countries, is linked particularly to early age at which the first menstrual cycle occurs. Public health strategies to tackle childhood obesity may possibly prevent the lowering of the average age of first menstrual cycle, which may in turn reduce their risk of developing heart disease over the long term," Dr Canoy added later.
An early puberty has been linked to several health problems in women. It includes cardiovascular diseases, behavioural problems, poor mental health, depression, aggressive behaviour, breast cancer risk, substance abuse, metabolic dysfunction, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Apart from these, an early puberty has been known to stunt children's growth early, making them short adults.