New research from Australia has examined a potential risk factor for a variety of metabolic diseases.
Women with irregular periods are 17 percent more likely to develop diabetes over a 20 year period, according to the study published in the Journal Clinical Endocrinology.
The study also identified these people were 20 percent more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
The researchers say that screening programs for these conditions should be extended to people who suffer from early menopause and polycystic ovary syndrome.
The research raises the possibility that hormone replacement therapies (HRT) change the level of risk.
Women who did not use hormone replacement therapy and had irregular cycles saw a 30 percent increase in diabetes risk.
The researchers found that this was not significant after adjusting for other factors.
One review looking specifically at HRT suggested that that the therapy is associated to lower risk of developing diabetes.
The researchers note that the results do not prove any causal relationship.
Assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, Rachel Urrutia, MD was not involved in the research.
She told Everyday Health: “Most experts think that underlying health problems that cause irregular periods also cause a higher chance of cardiovascular disease and other metabolic diseases.
“Although this is not a new finding per se, it reinforces findings from other places.”
The researchers note that the diabetes is far from the only condition that has been linked to menopause.
They wrote: “premature and early menopause are associated with chronic conditions including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, arthritis, osteoporosis, breast cancer, depression and anxiety.”
Many of these conditions, such as hypertension and heart disease, interact with each other and increase the risk of developing other conditions.
Hypertension is a common risk factor for heart disease and stroke.