Hot flushes of menopause linked to improved heart healthThe earlier the better
The hot flush is a well-known and inconvenient symptom of the onset of the menopause. But a large-scale new study has found that it is not all bad - women who experience them early in the menopause are at lower risk of heart attack and death that women who do not.
The health records of over 60,000 American women covering a ten year period were reviewed for the study. Four different groups were identified: 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 study leader Dr Emily Szmuilowicz of Harvard Medical School.
The findings, published in the journal Menopause, are in contrast to previous reports that had suggested there might be a link between hot flushes and risk of heart attack and stroke, partly because these hot flushes are caused by instability in the blood vessels in the skin.
"It is reassuring that these symptoms, which are experienced by so many women, do not seem to correlate with increased risk of cardiovascular disease," Dr Szmuilowicz said.
More work will be required to help understand the exact mechanism behind this link between menopausal symptoms and reduced heart disease risk.
This article was published on Fri 25 February 2011
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