A recent study presented at The Menopause Society’s 2023 Annual Conference has revealed an association between hot flashes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Hot flashes, experienced by approximately 70% of women during menopause transition, have previously been linked to various adverse health effects.
Prior research on hot flashes relied on self-reporting, which had limitations due to potential memory or reporting biases. To overcome this, the MsHeart study used physiological evaluation of hot flashes. The study found that physiological hot flashes were associated with increased levels of a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.
This association between hot flashes and heightened systemic inflammation suggests a link to cardiovascular disease risk, even after adjusting for factors such as age, race, education, estradiol, and body mass index. Considering that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, healthcare professionals should inquire about their female patients’ hot flash experiences as they may serve as indicators of cardiovascular disease risk.
Hot flashes, also known as vasomotor symptoms, are a common symptom of menopause transition. While they can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, they have also been associated with other adverse health effects. Previous research relied on self-reporting, which may have introduced biases.
To address this limitation, the MsHeart study utilized physiological evaluation of hot flashes. The study found that physiologically measured hot flashes were associated with increased levels of a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. This association remained significant even after accounting for various factors.
Mary Carson, the lead author of the study, concluded that these results suggest an association between hot flashes and vascular risk. This information can be used to identify women who may benefit from targeted efforts to reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
In conclusion, the MsHeart study provides evidence of a link between hot flashes and increased cardiovascular disease risk. Healthcare professionals should consider discussing hot flash experiences with their female patients as they may indicate underlying risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Hot flashes linked with risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The Menopause Society. September 27, 2023.