…Hot flashes. These are considered to be a reaction to the fluctuating hormones around menopause, namely the diminution of estrogen in the body, which can set off the sympathetic nervous system.
…They last 2-30 minutes and in addition to extreme heat are accompanied by rapid heartbeat.
…This is because the flushing fever feeling and spurting sweats are apparently propelled by blood pressure, and a recently study at Weill Cornell Medical College concluded that women who get hot flashes have higher blood pressure than those who don’t.
…Uh-oh. BP can be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
…The docs hooked up 154 NYC women from 18 to 65, with no previous cardiovascular disease and either mild or no hypertension, to portable BP monitors. A third experienced hot flashes. Their mean systolic rate (top number, with “normal” being 120/80) was 141 while awake and 129 asleep.
…Women who get a lot of hot flashes are advised to tell the doctor. Because of troublesome findings about hormone replacement therapy, you may or may not be advised to take estrogen.
…Estrogen’s link to better cardiovascular health is now being questioned, but high BP is still a negative factor.
…The battle of the studies. Meanwhile, we sweat stuff big and small.