Resources / Severe hot flushes: implications for cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s?

Severe hot flushes: implications for cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s?

Hot flushes are caused by fluctuating and declining estrogen levels and are among the commonest of menopausal symptoms, experienced by over 70% of women at some point during the menopause transition.

Although hot flushes may vary in severity from one woman to the next, research increasingly shows that women who experience severe hot flushes appear to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and possibly, dementia.

Estrogen is known to be an anti-inflammatory hormone, and as levels fall during the menopause transition, changes occur that increase cardiovascular disease risk beyond what would be expected from ageing alone. 

Studies show that hot flushes are associated with the production of substances that promote inflammation, in particular, a chemical called C-reactive protein, or CRP. CRP levels in the blood are increased in people with chronic (long-term) conditions such as type 2 diabetes, and at the recent North American Menopause Society conference, researchers presented work from a study showing that women with severe flushes not only had raised CRP levels but also raised levels of a chemical known to be a predictor of future Alzheimer’s disease. Women in the study were fitted with sweat monitors and devices that objectively measured sleep quality, a much more reliable way of assessing symptoms than women reporting symptoms themselves.

The study hasn’t yet been published, but it supports previous studies showing similar results and we’re looking forward to seeing more details once it is.

What can we learn from this study?

  1. Don’t ignore hot flushes; see your GP or a menopause specialist to assess your cardiovascular risk
  2. Sleep, diet, exercise, and stress reduction are really important
  3. Have lots of social interactions and keep your brain stimulated!

As more research into menopause is done, we’re beginning to understand that its effects go beyond just symptoms!

Why New Woman Health?

At NewWoman Health we have a commitment to educating, advising, treating, and supporting women approaching, during, and following menopause. Our wide range of medical and lifestyle interventions helps women to manage or minimise their menopause symptoms and improve their quality (and potential longevity) of life in an aspirational and uplifting way.

If you’re concerned about your menopause transition and/ or other menopause-related problems, including treatment options, we can support you with our personalised medical consultations with menopause specialists. Take the next step in ensuring your long-term health and quality of life by booking a consultation with us today.

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You are not alone. As a local example, in Manchester over 46% of council employees are female and over 40 years old. In a CIPD survey (2019) over 30% of women said they were unable to work because of menopausal symptoms.

Only 25% said they could tell their manager the real reason for their absence. The Council account for nearly 7% of all employment in Manchester. They implemented a new Menopause policy in March 2022. CIPD survey | Manchester Council Menopause Policy | CIPD Manchester

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