The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) said a study on hot flashes and vascular dysfunction published in its journal Menopause indicated that women ages 40 to 55 that suffered from hot flashes also had poor vascular function.
The study, “Physiologically assessed hot flashes and endothelial function among midlife women,” tested the relationship between hot flashes and the endothelial cells that make up the inner lining of blood vessels, NAMS said in a release. The study, involving 272 nonsmoking women ages 40 to 60, found that the hot flashes affected the blood vessels ability to dilate in the younger women. The hot flashes did not affect the older women, ages 54 to 60, in the study.
“Hot flashes are not just a nuisance," NAMS Executive Director JoAnn Pinkerton said in the release. "They have been linked to cardiovascular, bone and brain health. In this study, physiologically measured hot flashes appear linked to cardiovascular changes occurring early during the menopause transition."
Approximately 70 percent of women report hot flashes. One third of those women report that their hot flashes are frequent or severe. Hot flashes may begin a decade or more before menopause. The effect of hot flashes on younger women may lead to increased cardiovascular disease, which is already the leading cause of death in women.