Combo of Hot Flashes, Migraine Sends Heart Risks Sky High

Combo of Hot Flashes, Migraine Sends Heart Risks Sky High
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Key Takeaways

  • Women in menopause who have both migraines and vasomotor symptoms have a higher risk for heart disease or stroke, new research shows

  • Vasomotor symptoms are the hot flashes and night sweats that are common during menopause

  • The findings are from a study that followed nearly 2,000 women for 30 years or more

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 14, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- As if painful migraines, hot flashes and night sweats weren't bad enough, many women in menopause are facing a significantly bigger threat.

New research suggests that women with both migraines and vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes and night sweats) are significantly more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.

"There is a critical need to further refine existing cardiovascular disease risk-prediction models to identify women who are future risk," said Dr. Stephanie Faubion, medical director for The Menopause Society.

Published online Feb. 14 in the journal Menopause, the study found that women with a history of both symptoms were 1.5 times as likely to develop heart disease and 1.7 times as likely to have a stroke when compared to other women. The link was particularly strong among women who have migraines with aura.

The study, which followed women ages 18 to 30 into their early 60s, included nearly 2,000 women. 

The findings are noteworthy, the society said, because migraine headaches and hot flashes are so common. 

Nearly 8 in 10 menopausal women experience hot flashes, while migraines affect about 17.5% of women in their late reproductive years, the society said.

The study was described as the first to examine the joint influences of migraine and hot flashes/night sweats independent of estrogen use and traditional risk factors for heart disease, such as tobacco use, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and fasting blood sugar levels.

"This study highlights the importance of considering female-predominant or female-specific factors such as history of migraine and persistent vasomotor symptoms when assessing cardiovascular risk in women," Faubion noted in a society news release.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about the link between menopause and heart disease.

SOURCE: The Menopause Society, news release, Feb. 14, 2024

What This Means For You

Menopausal women should be aware of their heart disease risk, especially if they have migraines with aura and persistent night sweats and hot flashes.

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