Monday, January 10, 2011

Is there any medical benefit associated with hot flashes at menopause?

Hot flashes, night sweats and chills are not only uncomfortable but also downright annoying for many women. Hot flashes are common during menopause and are very difficult to treat. No one remedy seems to work for all women. However, women who have hot flashes should relax as current research indicates that hot flashes may signal a much lower risk of heart attacks and strokes.

In the past it was widely believed that hot flashes could trigger a heart attack or a stroke, now the research shows otherwise, Researchers analyzed data from 60,000 post menopausal women and discovered that women who had hot flashes at the start of menopause were actually at a slightly lower risk for stroke and heart disease, compared to women who did not have hot flashes.

Said Dr Emily Szmuilowicz, a co–author of the study from Northwestern Hospital in Chicago, "It is reassuring that these symptoms, which are experienced by so many women, do not seem to correlate with increased risk of cardiovascular disease."

The study also showed that women who initially did not develop hot flashes but did develop them later were also at a high risk for heart attacks or stroke. It is not known how hot flashes at the time of menopause are linked to a lower risk of heart attacks but Dr Szmuilowicz added, "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."

Women who do develop hot flashes may not like them, but they can at least be partially reassured that they are not likely to die from any potential heart attack or stroke.

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