The Connection Between Hot Flashes and Heart Health

The Connection Between Hot Flashes and Heart Health

Hot flashes, a common symptom of perimenopause and menopause, may be telling you more than that you’re aging.  In a recent study from The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) it was found that for younger midlife women (age 40-53 years), hot flashes can indicate poor vascular health which can lead to heart disease.

The study, done with 272 nonsmoking women aged 40 to 60 years old, revealed that the effect of hot flashes on the ability of blood vessels to dilate showed in the younger, fertile women who were tested.  Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of NAMS says, “In this study, physiologically measured hot flashes appear linked to cardiovascular changes occurring early during the menopause transition.”

Considering that heart disease is still the the leading cause of death for women in the United States, it would behoove anyone experiencing these symptoms to pay attention to what their hot flashes may be telling them. Especially if they are frequent or severe.

Here’s the good news: heart health is highly influenced by lifestyle. Meaning there are many preventative measures you can take to increase your chances of a long, heart healthy life!

Smoking

While we know how dangerous these habits are, many still have an addiction to smoking. If there was ever a time to quit, the time is now. Make a plan to quit smoking. Ask your doctors about medical and non-medical treatments to assist you in kicking the habit for good!

Heavy drinking

A glass of wine after a long week of work is one thing, but once you take drinking from moderate to heavy the impact on your body, including your cardiovascular health, is dangerous. There’s no shame in admitting you have a problem, and there are a wealth of professionals to assist you in making a change in your drinking habits.

Diet and exercise

Maintaining a healthy weight and increased circulation is crucial to optimal health. Eat healthy,  avoid eating processed and sugary foods, eat lots of vegetables and make sure you’re getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals. Movement is also key, so find an exercise you enjoy and start adding it to your daily routine. In addition, weight maintenance and exercise affect cholesterol levels for the good, read on to understand why cholesterol is important for heart health as well.

Healthy cholesterol levels

In order to lower your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and raise your “good” (HDL) cholesterol keep unhealthy fats at bay. Web MD provides a comprehensive breakdown on good fats vs bad fats.

Use medicines as prescribed by your doctor

If you are currently on any medications, your heart could be affected. Therefore, it is crucial to have an organized way to keep your dosage and timing correct.

Stress levels

Stress is a killer, literally. When you feel your hearts racing due to worry or anxiety, take a step back. You are literally overworking your heart. Learn relaxation techniques to easily calm down and return heart rates to normal. If anxiety feels like it’s unmanageable be sure to talk to your doctor about solutions.

Fresh air

Your heart needs new oxygen, therefore, try to get outside at least once a day for fresh air. Likewise, keep the airflow in your home fresh by opening windows. There are also many houseplants that help optimize indoor airflow.  

As always if you have any questions or concerns about your health, contact your doctor.