Hot flashes may indicate healthy heart in women

Mar 10, 2011

While doctors used to think they could add to heart problems, hot flashes have be shown to reduce cardiovascular events for women in the early stages menopause.

While they may be a nuisance for some women, a new study has found that hot flashes at the onset of menopause may be a sign of a healthy heart.

According to researchers, women who experience hot flashes and night sweats during the early stages of menopause may have a lower risk of developing a stroke or cardiovascular disease. However, scientists also discovered that women who develop those symptoms later into menopause had a 32 percent higher risk of heart attack.

"Hot flashes will never be enjoyable, but perhaps these findings will make them more tolerable," Emily Szmuilowicz, a Northwestern Medicine endocrinologist and the study’s lead author, said in a statement.

Hot flashes affect 3 out of 4 women during the early stages of menopause. Originally, doctors assumed they indicated a future health risk because the flashes are caused by the instability of blood vessels in the skin.

While hot flashes are common for women, the Mayo Clinic reports those who may want to limit their symptoms should avoid smoking and stay physically active. Furthermore, those positive lifestyle habits can also lead to lower life insurance rates.

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