Hot flashes and heart health

This symptom is common in menopause, but frequent or persistent episodes could be a sign of higher risk for heart attack or stroke.

Published: January, 2020

Researchers have begun to pay more attention to cardiovascular risk factors that are unique to women, such as early menopause (before age 40) and certain pregnancy complications. Recently they turned their attention to a common menopausal symptom that affects up to 85% of women: hot flashes.

Study results presented in September 2019 to the North American Menopause Society from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN) found that women who experience frequent or persistent hot flashes may be more likely than women who don't to experience a heart attack or stroke or other serious cardiovascular problems. (Researchers defined "frequent" hot flashes as having them six or more days in the previous two-week period. Women with "persistent" hot flashes reported those frequent hot flashes at 25% or more of study visits.)

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