New research from The University of Queensland has found that women who have hot flushes and night sweats after menopause are 70 per cent more likely to have heart attacks, angina and strokes.
School of Public Health PhD student Dr Dongshan Zhu has found women of any age who experience hot flushes and night sweats, also known as vasomotor symptoms or VMS, are more likely to experience non-fatal cardiovascular events.
"Until now, it's been unclear if VMS is associated with cardiovascular disease, but now we know it to be true," Dr Zhu said.
"Further, VMS before menopause increases a woman's chance of cardiovascular events by 40 per cent."
Dr Zhu also found that the risk of cardiovascular events was more related to the severity of the hot flushes and night sweats rather than the frequency or duration.
"We found that women with severe VMS were more than twice as likely to experience a non-fatal cardiovascular event compared with women who had no symptoms," he said.
Dr Zhu used data from InterLACE, a major collaboration of 25 studies of more than 500,000 women around the world.
Senior author on the study Professor Gita Mishra said the findings may have important clinical implications.
"This research helps to identify women who are at a higher risk for the development of cardiovascular events and who may need close monitoring in clinical practice," Professor Mishra said.
This study was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2020.06.039.