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Hot flushes and night sweats differ in associations with cardiovascular markers in healthy early postmenopausal women

Hitchcock, Christine Laura PhD1,2; Elliott, Thomas G. MBBS1; Norman, Eric G. PhD1; Stajic, Vesna MD1; Teede, Helena MBBS, PhD, FRACP3; Prior, Jerilynn C. BA, MD1,2

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e31825541cc
Original Articles

Objective The aim of this study was to evaluate the associations between vasomotor symptoms ([VMS] hot flushes or flashes and night sweats) and markers of cardiovascular risk.

Methods Healthy postmenopausal women in a randomized controlled trial of progesterone for VMS recorded VMS frequency in the Daily Menopause Diary for 28 days at baseline. Accepted risks for cardiovascular disease were measured: body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), waist-to-height ratio (WHtR), blood pressure (BP), endothelial function by venous occlusion plethysmography, fasting lipids, glucose, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, albumin, and D-dimer. Relationships between risk variables and VMS frequency (24 h, day and night) were assessed by univariate and multivariate robust regressions with adjustment for age and WHtR.

Results Data were available for 145 healthy, nonsmoking women without heart disease, hypertension, or diabetes who were 1 to 11 years past their final menstruation and were aged 43 to 65 years, with a mean (SD) BMI of 25.0 (2.9) kg/m2 and WC of 79.1 (7.1) cm. Anthropometric variables (BMI, WC, and WHtR) were significantly negatively associated with total (24-h day) VMS frequency and with day VMS but not with night VMS frequency. Systolic BP decreased with greater 24-hour VMS frequency, and both systolic and diastolic BPs were inversely related to day but not night VMS frequency. Albumin was positively associated with night VMS frequency but not with day or 24-hour VMS frequency. Other variables showed little association with VMS frequency.

Conclusions Hot flushes, but not night sweats, were associated with lower cardiovascular risk factors in these healthy postmenopausal women. Future research should differentiate night sweats from hot flushes.

Supplemental digital content is available in the text.

From the 1Division of Endocrinology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada; 2Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute; and 3School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Australia.

Received November 15, 2011; revised and accepted March 12, 2012.

Funding/support: Funding was provided by individual donors to the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research and in-kind donations from the British Columbia Endocrine Research Foundation.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

Address correspondence to: Jerilynn C. Prior, BA, MD, Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research, Endocrinology/Medicine, University of British Columbia, 2775 Laurel St, Rm 4111, Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 1M9. E-mail:

©2012The North American Menopause Society