To determine the association between ambulatory blood pressure (BP) and hot flash experience.
The participants in the study were 154 women (mean age = 46 years, range = 18-65 years), who were evaluated as part of a cross-sectional study on ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and diurnal BP patterns. Participants could be either normotensive or mildly hypertensive. Participants wore an ambulatory BP monitor for 24 hours and recorded their awake and sleep times. Hot flashes were assessed using an everyday complaint questionnaire that embeds symptoms associated with menopause into a list of everyday complaints.
Thirty-three percent of participants reported having had hot flashes during the 2 weeks before they completed the questionnaire. Compared with women who did not report hot flashes, mean awake and sleep systolic BP values were significantly higher (P < 0.004 and P = 0.007, respectively) in women who reported having had hot flashes. Hot flashes continued to independently predict average awake and sleep systolic BP (both P = 0.03) after controlling for age, race/ethnicity, body mass index, and menopausal status. Hot flashes were not associated with diastolic BP or nocturnal dipping of BP.
Hot flashes are associated with increased awake and sleep systolic BP independent of menopausal status. Further investigation is warranted to elucidate the mechanisms by which hot flashes are associated with BP.