Study links hot flushes and heart disease risk for women – Dr Nighats advice

Peri-menopause: Hot Flushes could be linked to heart disease

The research study, presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology in Istanbul, showed an association between hot flushes, night sweats and metabolic syndrome – a major risk factor for heart attacks and stroke.

What’s “really key”, said Dr Nighat, during an appearance on ITV’s This Morning, is that the study involved 825 healthy women, aged 40 and older, who were going through peri-menopause.

She explained that peri-menopause is when a woman still has periods and menopausal symptoms due to fluctuations in hormones.

Most specifically, there is a fluctuation in the hormones oestrogen and progesterone.

While there are “42 different symptoms” of peri-menopause, hot flushes were linked to the development of metabolic syndrome.

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Metabolic syndrome is the medical term to described the combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, the NHS states.

However, Dr Nighat said “nuances need to be picked apart in this study”.

She clarified: “This is just showing a link. It does not mean if you have hot flushes you are definitely going to get heart disease or high blood pressure.”

There are numerous risk factors for the development of high blood pressure, from family history to feelings of stress.

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Dr Nighat said it is “really difficult” for her, as a doctor, to confirm that hot flushes are linked to high blood pressure.

But, she added, that it does mean that for some of her patients who are at risk might benefit from taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

The research study

Lead author Dr Elena Armeni, of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, commented on the research.

“Our study shows the most symptomatic women after menopause have more prevalent cardiovascular risk factors.

“But it is unclear if they are also more likely to develop heart disease, type 2 diabetes or have a stroke.

“If so women with more disturbing symptoms will require appropriate health education to ensure they will remain fit and healthy in old age.”

Globally, cardiovascular disease claims the lives of around 18 million people each year.

If you want to know your risk of developing metabolic syndrome, do speak to your doctor. 

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