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Your Body: Early menstruation and stroke risk

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Girls who got their first period before the age of 13 were 1.8 times more likely to suffer a stroke later in life than girls who got their periods at age 15, a Japanese study published in the journal Neuroepidemiology found.

Further studies are definitely needed to prove cause and effect, but here’s my take on age of menstruation:

For white, American girls, the average age of their first period is 12, while for African American girls it's 11. Many factors go into this age but awareness of the association, and the pros and cons that come with the age of first period is important.

Outcomes like how tall you are, your risk for breast cancer and now, possibly, your risk of stroke can all be related to how old you were when you got your first period.

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