(WXYZ) – Hot flashes in women may not just be a bothersome nuisance, they could actually be a sign of an increased risk for heart disease.
New research looked at hot flashes and their potential effects on endothelial function – a fancy medical term for the flattened thin cells that line the heart and blood vessels.
272 women were monitored for hot flashes and underwent ultrasounds to evaluate their endothelial function.
Researchers found women between the ages of 40 and 53 who were experiencing frequent hot flashes may be more likely to have poorer function in blood vessels.
Heart disease is the number one killer for women, causing roughly 1 in 4 deaths. It’s very difficult to diagnose in early stages. Roughly 70 percent of women have hot flashes during menopause.
This study’s findings may help doctors assess menopausal female patients for heart disease risk. But more research is needed to better understand why hot flashes may affect vascular heath.
There’s no denying when you’re experiencing a hot flash, the intense heat and sweating can be very uncomfortable. There are ways to manage them so here’s my prescriptions:
1. Don’t smoke or give it up. Smoking can increase hot flashes along with your risk for heart disease, stroke and cancer.
2. Meditation or Slow deep breathing or can provide relief. Try 6-8 deep breaths per minute for 15 minutes.
3. Keep a journal by your side and note what happened just before a hot flash. You may identify triggers and be able to avoid or minimize hot flashes.
4. Exercise and add movement to your daily life. Women who are sedentary often suffer more with hot flashes.
Risk factors for heart disease include diabetes, poor diet, physical inactivity, too much alcohol and being overweight or obese. Hot flashes early in life may now be another red flag. It’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about heart disease screening and other ways you can manage menopause symptoms.
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