Hot Flashes in Younger Midlife Women May Be Linked to Cardiovascular Risks

April 13th 2017
Lauren Santye, Assistant Editor
Lauren Santye, Assistant Editor

Women who experience hot flashes earlier are more likely to have poor vascular function and have an increased risk of heart disease.

When women aged 40 to 53 years experience frequent hot flashes, it may be an indication of emerging vascular dysfunction that can lead to heart disease.

In a study published inMenopause, investigators sought to examine the relationship between physiologically assessed hot flashes and endothelial cell function in 272 nonsmoking women aged 40 to 60 years.

The results of the study showed that the effect of hot flashes on the blood vessels’ ability to dilate was observed only in the younger group of women.

No association was observed in older women aged 54 to 60 years, suggesting that early occurrence of hot flashes may be the most relevant to heart disease risk. The associations were independent of other heart disease risk factors.

The findings may provide valuable information for health care providers assessing risk of heart disease in theirmenopausal patients.

Hot flashes are reported by 70% of women, with approximately one-third of them who describe them as frequent or severe. Additionally, new data has indicated that hot flashes often start earlier than previously believed and can persist for a decade or more.

“Hot flashes are not just a nuisance,” said Dr JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of the North American Menopause Society. “They have been linked to cardiovascular, bone, and brain health. In this study, physiologically measured hot flashes appear linked to cardiovascular changes occurring early during the menopause transition.”

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