The first, published this month and funded by the National Cancer Institute, found that women who experience hot flashes have a 50 percent lower chance of developing the most common types of breast cancer.
It came right on the heels of a separate series of studies funded by the National Institutes of Health, which concluded that women who suffer from hot flashes also seem to be at higher risk of heart disease.
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Study results indicate that the risk of CVD linked to persistent hot flashes is similar to that associated with smoking and obesity.
Lead researcher Rebecca Thurston, assistant professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, said most researchers don’t think hot flashes cause changes that put women at higher risk for CVD, but may signal underlying vascular changes that need more attention. Margery Gass, the executive director of the North American Menopause Society.
Since heart disease takes decades to develop, persistent hot flashes may eventually be used to help doctors identify those at greatest risk of CVD at earlier ages.“The bottom line,” says Thurston, “is that hot flashes may be telling us something important about women’s health.”Pat Wingert is a Newsweek correspondent based in Washington D. who covers society, politics, policy, education and health.Between 20, Li and his team interviewed 988 women (ages 55-74) who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, and another 449 who had not.The results, published this month in Cancer Epidemiology, indicated that those who had suffered from hot flashes had half the risk of developing invasive ductal and invasive lobular carcinoma, two of the most common types of breast cancer, as those who hadn’t.An estimated 70 to 80 percent of American women deal with hot flashes sometime during the menopause transition, but there is still a lot we don't know about them.The leading theory is that as a woman's hormone production declines, there's a change in brain chemistry that affects the hypothalamus, which controls things like blood pressure and body temperature.