Suffering with hot flushes and night sweats at the beginning of the menopause could reduce a woman’s risk of heart attack and stroke, a US study suggests.
The research, based on evidence from 60,000 participants, has been hailed as good news for women - known to become more exposed to the possibility of heart disease after the menopause.
However, experts are not yet able to explain the trend.
Hot flushes are a common symptom that women experience during menopause and can lead to women feeling a blast of heat, lasting, on average, for around four minutes.
They can cause sweats, particularly at night, and disturb sleep patterns.
The symptoms are caused by the dilation of blood vessels in the skin and are linked to hormone imbalances, but still not fully understood.
Researchers discovered the positive news about hot flushes after studying women taking part in the Women’s Health Initiative, a 10-year investigation of menopausal symptoms and heart and artery problems.
Study leader Dr Emily Szmuilowicz, from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said: “We found that women who experienced symptoms when they began menopause had fewer cardiovascular events than those who experienced hot flashes late in menopause or not at all.”
- Vasomotor symptoms and cardiovascular events in postmenopausal women 2011; Advance online publication
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