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Hot flushes "may aid the heart"

Women who are beginning the menopause and experience night sweats and hot flushes have a reduced risk of heart disease and strokes, research has suggested.

Scientists made the conclusion after an analysis of data on 60,000 women in a major study in the US. A reason for the phenomena has not been put forward.

The research has been heralded as good news for women who are known to become more vulnerable to heart disease after "the change".

One of the most common symptoms of the menopause is hot flushes, which are called hot flashes in the US. They produce an uncomfortable feeling of intense heat and last about four minutes after starting suddenly.

Sufferers may break out in sweats and frequent hot flushes at night can severely disrupt sleep. 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.

The findings will appear in the June issue of the journal Menopause and were published online.

"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," said study leader Dr Emily Szmuilowicz, from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Copyright © Press Association 2011


Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Some good news for women" - Foomaylan, Malaysia

"The research is extremely interesting, however, I wonder how the taking of hormone replacement therapy, be it on prescription from the GP or herbal treatment to reduce these symptoms effect on heart problems" - Caroline Gilmore