Latest Menopause News
TUESDAY, Sept. 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Women, if you're bothered by frequent hot flashes, it may be more than a mere annoyance.
New research offers evidence that frequent or persistent hot flashes are linked to higher odds of heart attack and stroke. The finding stems from a 20-year study of about 3,300 women during menopause.
"The [heart events] were not explained by things like blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, exercise or smoking, which are our usual suspects," said lead author Rebecca Thurston, director of the Women's Biobehavioral Health Program at the University of Pittsburgh.
Much more remains to be learned, Thurston said.
Next up: Understanding the underlying mechanisms that link hot flashes to heart disease risk. Researchers also want to find out whether treating hot flashes has any impact on women's heart health as they age.
"We don't know the exact cause of hot flashes, but it relates to a part of the brain that regulates temperature," said Dr. Stephanie Faubion, the society's medical director. "The range of temperatures where women feel comfortable is narrowed compared to what it was before hot flashes started. Think of it like a broken thermostat."
That includes getting appropriate screenings for breast, colon and cervical cancer and a bone density scan. Faubion also recommends regular exercise, a healthy diet, maintaining an appropriate weight, getting enough sleep, not smoking and paying attention to good mental health.
Thurston offered a similar prescription. "It is all too common that women put their health on the back burner in favor of the needs of others, such as their children or family members," she said. "Now is the time to prioritize one's own health."
The study was to be presented Tuesday at a meeting of the North American Menopause Society, in Chicago. Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
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