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Hypertension. 2008 Jun;51(6):1492-8. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.107.106526. Epub 2008 Apr 7.

Menopausal complaints are associated with cardiovascular risk factors.

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Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Room STR 6.131, PO Box 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands.


It has been hypothesized that women with vasomotor symptoms differ from those without with respect to cardiovascular risk factors or responses to exogenous hormone therapy. We studied whether the presence and extent of menopausal complaints are associated with cardiovascular risk profile. Data were used from a population-based sample of 5523 women, aged 46 to 57 years, enrolled between 1994 and 1995. Data on menopausal complaints and potential confounders were collected by questionnaires. Total cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and body mass index were measured. Linear and logistic regression analyses were used to analyze the data. Night sweats were reported by 38% and flushing by 39% of women. After multivariate adjustment, women with complaints of flushing had a 0.27-mmol/L (95% CI: 0.15 to 0.39) higher cholesterol level, a 0.60-kg/m(2) (95% CI: 0.35 to 0.84) higher BMI, a 1.59-mm Hg (95% CI: 0.52 to 2.67) higher systolic blood pressure, and a 1.09-mm Hg (95% CI: 0.48 to 1.69) higher diastolic blood pressure compared with asymptomatic women. Flushing was also associated with hypercholesterolemia (odds ratio: 1.52; 95% CI: 1.25 to 1.84) and hypertension (OR: 1.20; 95% CI: 1.07 to 1.34). Results were similar for complaints of night sweating. The findings support the view that menopausal complaints are associated with a less favorable cardiovascular risk profile. These findings substantiate the view that differences in the presence of menopausal symptoms as a reason for using hormone therapy could explain discrepant findings between observational research and trials.

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