Menopausal hot flashes ‘may protect women’s hearts’

Friday, February 25, 2011

WASHINGTON - A new study has found that women who suffer from hot flashes when they begin menopause may be at lower risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke and death.

For the study, researchers reviewed medical information from 60,000 women who were enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study and followed for ten years, to determine the relationship between menopause symptoms and cardiovascular events.

Subjects were grouped into four categories - women who experienced hot flashes and night sweats at the onset of menopause, later in menopause, during both time periods, and not at all.

“We found that women who experienced symptoms when they began menopause had fewer cardiovascular events than those who experienced hot flashes late in menopause or not at all,” said Northwestern Medicine endocrinologist Emily Szmuilowicz.

The results are significant since there has been concern that menopausal symptoms, which result from instability in the blood vessels in the skin, may put women at risk for other types of vascular problems as well.

“It is reassuring that these symptoms, which are experienced by so many women, do not seem to correlate with increased risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Szmuilowicz.

Szmuilowicz and team said more research needs to be done in order to understand the mechanisms behind the association, but say it’s good news for the millions of women who experience these troublesome symptoms at the time of menopause.

“Hot flashes will never be enjoyable, but perhaps these findings will make them more tolerable,” added Szmuilowicz.

The findings have been published in the online edition of the journal Menopause. (ANI)

Filed under: Health

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