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Climacteric. 2018 Apr;21(2):96-100. doi: 10.1080/13697137.2018.1430131. Epub 2018 Feb 2.

Vasomotor symptoms: natural history, physiology, and links with cardiovascular health.

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a Departments of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Epidemiology , University of Pittsburgh , Pittsburgh , PA , USA.


Vasomotor symptoms (VMS), or hot flushes and night sweats, are the classic symptom of menopause. Recent years have brought key advances in the knowledge about VMS. VMS last longer than previously thought, on average 7-10 years for frequent or moderate to severe VMS. Although VMS have long been understood to be important to women's quality of life, research has also linked VMS to indicators of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, such as an adverse CVD risk factor profile, greater subclinical CVD and, in emerging work, CVD events. Relations between VMS and CVD are not typically accounted for by CVD risk factors. In newer work, VMS-CVD risk relations are demonstrated with state-of-the-art subjective and objective measures of VMS. Some research indicates that VMS-CVD risk relations may be sensitive to the timing or duration of VMS. Thus, research collectively supports relations between VMS and CVD risk independent of known CVD risk factors. Next steps include identifying the mechanisms linking VMS and CVD risk indicators, understanding any timing effects, and clarifying the precise nature of relations between VMS and CVD risk. Clinical implications are discussed.


Menopause; cardiovascular disease; hot flashes; hot flushes; vasomotor symptoms

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