Any woman who has ever experienced either hot flushes or night sweats, knows that this definitely puts stress and strain on your system as your body struggles to cope.
Now researchers from Australia reviewed past studies involving 23,365 women and found that cardiovascular disease including heart attack and angina is 40% more likely in women who suffer hot flushes and night sweats.
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.
They found that they are at much higher risk of suffering heart attacks, angina and strokes their study reveals.
What does it mean for you?
As hot flushes and night sweats or two of the most commonly experienced symptoms at Menopause, at first glance this appears to be very concerning.
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.
I am certainly not dismissing it, but they make no mention of the factors at Menopause which increase such heart risks such as oestrogen dominance, weight issues and lack of exercise.
Are you at risk?
‘Until now, it’s been unclear if vasomotor symptoms (eg hot flushes and night sweats)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.
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.
Certainly the prevalence of angina is increasing, with approximately two million people in the UK being diagnosed with the condition.
However this will affect 14% of men and 8% of women so is not the major concern that cardiovascular disease is.
Heart risk at menopause
There are currently more than 3.5 million women in the UK living with heart disease. Sadly, 77 women die from a heart attack every day in the UK – around 28,000 women every year.
So there is no disputing the fact that women face an increased risk from heart disease at Menopause, and post Menopause.
However what has to be addressed are what increases the risk factors. For many women this is related to excess oestrogen, oestrogen dominance, and the hormone imbalance associated with it.
The weight that many women gain at Menopause is around the middle, and this is considered to be one of the risk factors. Unfortunately Menopause is when women are no longer producing oestrogen from the ovaries, and so the body switches production of it into the fat cells of the abdomen, hips and thighs.
Known risk factors are:
- Mental stress and depression
- Pregnancy complications
- Family history of early heart disease
- Inflammatory diseases.
How to reduce your risk
Heart disease should never be taken lightly, as it is the second highest cause of death amongst women – but never considered as serious a risk as breast cancer which women fear most.
Maintaining a healthy weight, building exercise into your daily routine and ensuring that you have good hormone balance are the best ways to reduce your risk.
If you know that you have risk factors due to family history, or other issues such as being overweight, at risk of diabetes or long-term use of synthetic hormones such as the Pill, Coil or HRT then address those first.
Always speak to your doctor if you have risk factors, or concerns.
Progesterone is known to support heart health, and so if you know that you do have issues with you this can rebalance by adding progesterone in to your health routine and if overweight adopting a heart healthy diet.