Women who suffer hot flushes and night sweats are at much higher risk of suffering heart attacks, angina and strokes, study reveals
- Researchers from Australia reviewed past studies involving 23,365 women
- Cardiovascular disease is 70% more likely post-menopause with the symptoms
- Experiencing vasomotor symptoms before menopause also increases the risk
Women who suffer hot flushes and night sweats are at a much higher risk of suffering from heart attacks, angina and strokes, a study has revealed.
Reviewing data on 23,365 women, experts from Australia found that those of any age experiencing hot flushes or night sweats — ‘vasomotor symptoms’ — are more likely to have non-fatal cardiovascular attacks.
However, the team also found that cardiovascular disease is 70 per cent more likely in post-menopausal women with the symptoms.
Experiencing vasomotor symptoms prior to menopause, meanwhile, increases a woman’s risk of suffering cardiovascular problems by 40 per cent.
Women who suffer hot flushes and night sweats are at a much higher risk of suffering from heart attacks, angina and strokes, a study has revealed (stock image)
‘Until now, it’s been unclear if vasomotor symptoms are associated with cardiovascular disease, but now we know it to be true,’ said public health expert Dongshan Zhu of the University of Queensland, who led the study.
‘Further, vasomotor symptoms before menopause increase a woman’s chance of cardiovascular events by 40 per cent.’
The team also found that the risk of cardiovascular events was more related to the severity of the hot flushes and night sweats than it was their frequency or duration.
‘We found that women with severe vasomotor symptoms were more than twice as likely to experience a non-fatal cardiovascular event compared with women who had no symptoms,’ he added.
For their study, the researchers made use of data from InterLACE, a major collaboration of 25 studies of more than 500,000 women from across the globe.
The team also found that women of any age experiencing hot flushes or night sweats — ‘vasomotor symptoms’ — are more likely to have non-fatal cardiovascular attacks
The findings could have important clinical implications, said paper author and epidemiologist Gita Mishra of the University of Queensland.
‘This research helps to identify women who are at a higher risk for the development of cardiovascular events and who may need close monitoring in clinical practice,’ she added.
The full findings of the study were published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
HOT FLUSHES: THE FACTS
Most women will experience hot flushes when going through the menopause.
They’re often described as a sudden feeling of heat that seems to come from nowhere and spreads throughout the body.
You might also experience sweating, palpitations and flushing of the face.
Some women only have occasional hot flushes that do not really bother them, while others can have many a day and find them uncomfortable, disruptive and embarrassing.
Hot flushes can start a few months or years before your periods stop (before you start the menopause) and usually continue for several years after your last period.
Causes of hot flushes
Hot flushes usually affect women who are approaching the menopause and are thought to be caused by changes in your hormone levels affecting your body’s temperature control.
They can happen without warning throughout the day and night, but can also be triggered by:
- eating spicy foods
- caffeine and alcohol
- wearing thick clothing
- a high temperature
- feeling stressed or anxious
- treatment for certain types of cancer (this can affect both men and women)
- certain medicines
- some health conditions, such as an overactive thyroid, diabetes and tuberculosis
What does a hot flush feel like?
Women often describe a hot flush as a creeping feeling of intense warmth that quickly spreads across your whole body and face.
It typically lasts for several minutes. Others say the warmth is similar to the sensation of being under a sun bed, or feeling like a furnace.
The website healthtalk.org has several videos where women describe what a hot flush feels like.