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Objectives: The aim of the study was to obtain information on the possible relationship between impaired ovarian function and risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Material and methods: Serum lipid levels, plasma fibrinolytic potential and histological and biochemical changes in the intima of the uterine artery were investigated in premenopausal women with irregular menstrual cycles, and the results were compared with those from regularly menstruating women. In addition, the same parameters were studied in postmenopausal women on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and in postmenopausal women who had never used HRT. In total 64 patients undergoing hysterectomy for benign reasons were included the study. Results: Plasma fibrinogen concentration was significantly higher in irregularly menstruating women as compared with women with regular cycles. In women with irregular cycles thickened or sclerotic arterial intima was a significantly more common finding as compared with regularly menstruating women. A significant positive correlation was observed between plasma fibrinogen concentration and intimal esterified cholesterol content in women with thickened or sclerotic uterine artery. Conclusions: These data suggest an important role for normal ovarian function in the prevention of atherosclerosis.
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Accepted: March 27, 1997
Received in revised form: March 17, 1997
Received: June 17, 1996
© 1997 Published by Elsevier Inc.