Women, who experience intense hot flashes and night sweats during the onset of menopause, can take heart and look upon these as protection against cardiovascular diseases, according to the findings of new research.
Vasomotor symptoms or hot flashes as the layperson knows it are caused by changing hormonal levels and dilation of blood, can lead to physical and emotional upheavals in a woman’s life, and has no effective remedies. Some studies had earlier identified hot flashes, night sweats and the treatments thereof with potential risks of cardiovascular diseases and breast cancer in women. The new study however, finds that menopausal symptoms protect women against heart diseases.
A ten-year investigative study on menopausal symptoms and its relation to cardiovascular risks, undertaken by the Women’s Health Initiative, had data about 60,000 participants. Post-menopausal women between 50 and 79 years of age, answered questionnaires about their menopausal symptoms and were grouped as those who experienced symptoms at the start of menopause, during the course of menopause, those that had it all through and those who never showed any symptoms.
Researchers who analyzed the data revealed that women, who experienced the symptoms during the start of menopause, were at a lower risk for cardiovascular diseases as opposed to women who never had the symptoms then. Such women had 17% less risk of strokes, 11% for heart diseases, and 11% for death from any other causes.
Women who experienced symptoms later during menopause had a 32% increased risk of heart diseases and 29% more for strokes, while women who had them at the onset and continued to experience them through menopause, had no increased or decreased risks.
Researchers were unable to explain the correlation between decreased risks and symptoms at the start of menopause, but they believe, “One possibility is that perimenopausal vasomotor symptoms represent a physiologic response to the normal perimenopausal hormonal fluctuations, and the absence of these symptoms may signify a blunted vascular response to these hormonal changes.”