Women with 2 or more moderate to severe menopause symptoms are at a significantly higher risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke, according to a recent study presented at the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting of The North American Menopause Society. 

Menopause frequently causes a variety of symptoms that can interfere with a woman’s quality of life. For example, a commonly reported symptom is hot flashes, which can cause fatigue and make it difficult to concentrate. However, hot flashes alone were found not to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke. 

Further, investigators found that any single moderate to severe symptom did not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke. Additionally, moderate to severe menopause symptoms were not associated with other adverse health outcomes, such as cancer risk, according to the study. 

Symptoms considered an added risk for cardiovascular disease or stroke included hot flashes, night sweats, dizziness, heart racing, tremors, restlessness, fatigue difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, mood swings, vaginal dryness, breast tenderness, migraines, and waking multiple times throughout the night. 

“We found that even severe hot flashes were not associated with any adverse clinical health outcomes when occurring on their own, but if they or any other moderate to severe menopause symptoms were present in combination, there was an association with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease," said lead study author Matthew Nudy, MD, in the press release. 

Calcium and vitamin D supplements did not mitigate the risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke; however, identifying risk factors may help the implication or risk reduction strategies, according to the study.  

Could your menopause symptoms be hard on your heart? [News Release] Cleveland, OH. September 28, 2020. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/tnam-cym092320.php. Accessed September 28, 2020.