Early menarche can increase the risk of diabetes


The younger girls are at the onset of menstruation, the greater their risk of developing prediabetes or diabetes in the course of their lives. This is the conclusion reached by scientists of the Helmholtz Zentrum München based on the analysis of data obtained from the KORA cohort. Following the online publication of the new risk factor in the specialist journal Diabetologia, the researchers hope that they will be able in future to find better ways to prevent the disease.
In future it will be possible to identify women who are at greater risk of developing diabetes on the basis of their age at menarche. Dr. Christine Meisinger, Dr. Doris Stöckl and their colleagues at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have now discovered that the earlier girls experience the onset of menarche, the more likely they are to develop prediabetes or diabetes at some point in their lives. The researchers reached this conclusion after examining 1,503 women aged between 32 and 81 years as part of the KORA F4 Study. The average age at the onset of menarche was 13. In contrast to previous assumptions, the link between age at menarche and diabetes was evident irrespective of the current body mass index (BMI) of the adults participating in the study.
”We hope that it will thus be possible to identify individuals with an increased risk of diabetes in good time and to take preventive measures,” says Doris Stöckl. She and her colleagues are now examining the extent to which the link they have discovered is based on genetic or socio-economic factors. The Helmholtz Zentrum München aims to gain understanding of the mechanisms that trigger widespread diseases and to develop new approaches to their diagnosis, treatment and prevention.”