Harvard Heart Letter

Ask the doctor: Are hot flashes linked to heart disease?

Q. I am 76 years old and still get hot flashes. Is it true that women who have hot flashes many years after menopause are more likely to experience heart problems than those whose symptoms end early in menopause?

A. If there is a relationship between hot flashes and the risk of heart disease, it is not very strong, and you shouldn't worry about it.

Hot flashes result from abrupt dilation of blood vessels just below the skin, making a woman feel warm and giving her a flushed appearance. For some women, hot flashes continue for many years after menopause.

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