Now, keep up to date
with daily feeds of newly posted stories
about America's Seniors...click on the box
Menopausal hot flashes may be a good sign for heart
February 27, 2011 –An estimated three out of
four women experience hot flashes associated
with menopause and nearly all would agree
they are a nuisance, but experts say there
could be an upside to having hot flashes.
New research released today in the online
edition of the journal Menopause suggests
that women who suffer from hot flashes and
night sweats may be at lower risk for
cardiovascular disease, stroke and death.
"While they are certainly bothersome, hot
flashes may not be all bad," said
Northwestern Medicine endocrinologist Emily
Szmuilowicz, MD, who is lead author of the
"Our research found that despite previous
reports suggesting that menopause symptoms
were associated with increased levels of
risk markers for heart disease, such as
blood pressure and cholesterol, the actual
outcomes tell a different story."
Szmuilowicz, who co-chaired the study along
with JoAnn Manson, MD, DrPH, and Ellen Seely,
MD from Harvard Medical School, 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
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
"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 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 say 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," said Szmuilowicz.