Is there a connection between hot flashes and heart disease?

A small study looking at the connection between hot flashes and heart disease has just been published in the online journal Menopause. According to the findings of the study conducted by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) frequent hot flushes during menopause could be a sign of increased risk of heart disease. The study examined 272 women between the ages of 40 and 60 who reported having hot flashes either daily or not at all. The women did not smoke and had no history of CVD (cardiovascular disease). Although the study is small it is an important one with a serious message. Hot flashes/flushes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause. New data has indicated that hot flashes can start much earlier than previously thought, beginning during the late reproductive years. They can continue for ten years and longer, vary in severity and can have an impact on health and quality of life. The study shows younger midlife women (age 40-53 years) having frequent hot flashes may also signal emerging vascular dysfunction that can lead to heart disease. This is due to the hot flashes impacting on the ability of blood vessels to dilate among younger women. Women aged between 54 and 60 do not seem to have this issue which would indicate that when hot flashes occur earlier they could have an effect on a women’s heart disease risk. The study looks at the association between hot flashes and endothelial function. The endothelium is a layer of cells that line the inside of the blood vessels. The assessment of endothelial function is considered a key factor in predicting atherosclerosis...

The Evidence Base for HRT: what can we believe?

Professor Robert D Langer’s paper, ‘The evidence base for HRT: what can we believe?’ is a review of the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) clinical trial of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The study and its findings, you may recall, emphasised the risks of HRT causing worldwide concern and led to many women refusing or stopping treatment. Professor Langer’s paper highlights the serious errors that were made during the WHI study including:- Publication of results with very little involvement from the key investigators. Reported conclusions that did not accurately reflect the scientific findings Although the study was designed to test the effects of HRT in older women – the conclusions applied the exaggerated risk to all women. As a consequence many women who needed HRT have avoided it and subsequently suffered unnecessarily. Since then many clinicians have been trying to disprove the findings of the report. Professor Langer says “in the years since the first WHI report, we have learned much about the characteristics of women who are likely to benefit from HRT. The range of HRT regimens has also increased. Not all women have indications for HRT, but for those who do and who initiate within 10 years of menopause, benefits are both short-term (vasomotor, dyspareunia), and long-term (bone health, coronary risk reduction).”   Things have indeed moved on a great deal since this study. In November 2015, NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) UK, issued the first guideline on diagnosis and management. You can find the guideline for professionals and a simplified version for women patients here.   See Professor Robert D Langer’s paper: ‘The evidence...
How not to be a hostage to your hormones

How not to be a hostage to your hormones

Our resident nutritionist, Charlotte Debeugney, discusses how not to be a hostage to your hormones. Hands up if you’ve ever woken up knowing that it’s going to be ‘one of those days’! A morning where you feel like an “anti super woman”- no energy, no motivation and an overwhelming fatigue. It’s on those kinds of days that it takes me 30 minutes to park my car, that I am far more likely to burn or cut myself while cooking and I can almost guarantee that I am going to be late for everything, with my blood pressure going off the scale while I’m stuck in traffic. The tension builds throughout the day as I try to get through everything I need to do with a maximum pressure point at the beginning of the evening where I screech like a demented hyena at my children and husband and the world in general! Yup, we’ve all been there! Does this get worse with age and the menopause? Fluctuating hormones definitely play a role, with lower oestrogen levels as the menopause approaches contributing to tiredness, irritability and difficulty in concentrating. When you throw this into the mix of relationships, children and work, it’s not surprising that we have moments when we struggle. One of the lovely things about aging, is that you become your own best friend. Over the years, I’ve learnt to be very attuned to my moods. My younger self would have insisted on carrying on regardless, getting angrier and more frustrated as the day goes on. My older self, assesses and adapts the day to minimise the stress and...
Herbal Tea for Menopause Symptom Relief

Herbal Tea for Menopause Symptom Relief

This is a guest post by Elissa Scott, The T Lady: Menopause Tea – Hot Flush Tea. More and more women every day are turning to herbal tea for menopause symptom relief. Let me ask you…are you one of those many women suffering from hot flushes and night sweats? Me too! I started to investigate further and found that hot flushes and night sweats are one of the most common and bothersome symptoms of Menopause. Hot Flushes and Night Sweats Hot flushes and night sweats are a common symptom of Menopause. Quite often you will see them grouped together, as night sweats are an unfortunate night time manifestation of hot flushes experienced during the day. Not all women suffer from these symptoms but for those of us who do, we can wake up with our bedclothes drenched in sweat and/or have sudden feelings of warmth or heat in the body during the day. Why Do They Occur? The real cause of hot flushes and night sweats are not clear, however, it is known that during Menopause, Estrogen levels fall and it is believed that this fall affects the way the body regulates whether it’s too hot or not.     Deciding that I needed to do something to combat these symptoms I started to research natural alternatives as the chemical world just does not sit well with my soul. My research got me thinking…what about a Herbal Tea for Menopause…why not?  The culmination of my thinking resulted in The T Lady Menopause Tea – Hot Flush Tea.  Yes! My dream was alive and the vision of saturating the world...
Diet During Menopause

Diet During Menopause

Our resident nutritionist, Charlotte Debeugney gives us the perfect recipe for our diet during menopause ensuring we maintain optimal nutritional health. There’s lots of interest in diets to support women during the menopause but before you get your shopping list ready, I’m going to highlight that diet is only part of the powerful toolkit for naturally supporting the menopause.  The whole shebang of moderate exercise, diet, stress management and sleep is ideally what we should all be aspiring too. Not only for dealing with the menopause but also for ensuring that we that we stay healthy, fit and strong for as long as possible.   Hormonal changes during the menopause As we start to approach menopause, our levels of oestrogen and progesterone decline.  So does our testosterone, but less so than the other two hormones.  The ratio of testosterone to oestrogen increases, even though levels of both hormones are lower. This explains the menopause barrel shape women tend to get, with excess fat being distributed around the waist as opposed to the hips and thighs in a classic ‘male’ type of distribution. Oestrogen helps to protect our bones as well as stimulating hair growth and giving our skin a youthful glow.  Recent research also links oestrogen as being a protective factor against ‘binging’ and this could explain why menstruating women often experience food cravings or find it impossible to control their food intake at the end of their cycle when oestrogen levels are low.  It could also be the reason that post-menopausal women can find it harder to control their appetites.  It’s not a lack of self-control but low...