Heart disease is and has been one of the leading causes of death in the United States for years. But why is it so prevalent? Do people not notice the warning signs?

CBS news reports on the signs of heart disease.

Among American women heart disease and breast cancer are considered the leading causes of death. With breast cancer it is sometimes difficult to see the signs but experts say that when it comes to heart disease, doctors should be warning patients of all the possible signs of the disease.

Experts have conducted a couple of new studies to see which signs of heart disease women should be looking for, such as feet swelling. Other signs of heart disease include, nausea, dizziness and palpitations.

The studies also showed that women, who have hot flashes at an earlier age, as well as those who have more frequent hot flashes, are at a greater risk of developing heart disease.

Dr. Thurston, from the University of Pittsburgh, led the study. She said, “

Hot flashes occur at a time in a woman's life when her risk for heart disease increases, the new findings suggest that earlier onset of hot flashes may help doctors spot women who are at greater risk for heart disease.”

Researchers found that women who have hot flashes earlier in life appear to have poorer function of the lining of the blood vessels than those who have hot flashes at a later age, or not at all in their lifetime. The experts found that impaired function in the blood vessel's walls, also called reduced endothelial function, is the earliest possible sign of heart disease for most people.

How were the studies conducted?

In one of the studies, almost 200 women either in or just out of menopause wore a special monitor for a day to track the frequency of their hot flashes. Their blood vessel health was monitored via ultrasound tests to arteries in the forearm of the body.

What were the results?

The researchers found that more hot flashes in that 24-hour period were connected to worse blood flow in younger women, mostly in those aged 52 or younger.

Other things were also important. CBS explains,

“The number of hot flashes per day also seemed key. Women who experienced 10 or more episodes per day had a 50 percent reduction in how well their vessels expanded during normal blood flow, compared to women without any hot flashes.”

The second study had participants who had already experienced menopause and also already had heart disease, there were a little over a hundred women involved. The researchers found that women who said they experienced their first hot flash when young (around the age of 42 or younger) had much worse blood vessel health than those whose hot flashes started later in life.

Dr. Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, shared an interesting opinion about the study. She told CBS,

“Women with early onset hot flashes may be a group for whom early prevention and aggressive preventive strategies should be implemented. As we learn more about these unique risk factors for women, it is imperative that we target a prevention strategy, as we know that the outcomes for heart disease in women are worse.”


Gerry Oginski
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