Common Menopausal Symptoms Tied to Impaired Brain Health
Hot flashes and night sweats in middle-aged women are associated with greater white matter hyperintensity volume (WMHV), a marker of small vessel disease in the brain, in new findings that call into question the idea that these symptoms are benign.
These new findings challenge the long-held belief that the most common menopausal vasomotor symptoms (VMS) are benign and of limited clinical significance and "underscore the importance of these vasomotor symptoms for women's brain health," study investigator Rebecca C. Thurston, PhD, Pittsburgh Foundation chair in women's health and dementia and professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, told Medscape Medical News.
@swyambhu More than 70% of women experience VMS, which are frequent and/or severe in about one-third of sufferers. Previous research shows such symptoms are associated with worsening of women's cardiovascular health.
However, said Thurston, menopause is also increasingly recognized as an important transition for women's brain health. Specifically, she noted, some studies have linked menopause to an increased risk of stroke, Alzheimer's disease (AD), and cognitive decline.
To examine the potential impact of VMS on women's brain health, the researchers examined the potential link between these symptoms and WMHV in 226 postmenopausal women. Participants had a mean age of 59 years and were not using hormone therapy. On average, most participants were overweight (median body mass index [BMI], 26.74) and normotensive.