An estimated three out of four women experience hot flushes when they move into the menopause but “while they are certainly bothersome, hot flashes may not be all bad” says a new study.
The research points out that previous reports suggested that menopausal symptoms were associated with markers linked to increased risk of heart disease like high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Instead the new study – published in the journal Menopause – says “the actual outcomes tell a different story.
Medical information from 60,000 women was reviewed and followed over a 10 year period to determine the relationship between menopause and cardiac events.
The women were grouped into four categories – those who had 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 lead author of the study, 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 her 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,” she added