Study Links Hot Flashes in Younger Women to Heart Disease Risk
Hot flashes—which occur in more than 70 percent women in their later reproductive years, as they near menopause—may indicate a higher risk for heart disease, according to a recent study. The research, which was published in the journal Menopause, examined the association between hot flashes and the function of the endothelium—a layer of cells that line the blood vessels. Endothelial function is considered an important factor in predicting cardiovascular disease—specifically atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries—risk.
The study involved 272 women between the ages of 40 and 60. The women were non-smokers with no history of heart disease and reported either not experiencing hot flashes or having them daily. Over the course of the study, the women were evaluated for physiologic signs of hot flashes and kept a diary of hot flash symptoms. They underwent blood tests and arterial ultrasounds to measure endothelial function.
According to researchers, women between the ages of 40 and 53 who experienced hot flashes were at increased risk for vascular dysfunction associated with heart disease. However, the study did not show a correlation between hot flashes and heart disease risk in women between 54 and 60 years of age.
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