First the Pill – Now Hot Flashes Linked to Insulin Resistance

Leslie Carol Botha: Just last week – the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research reported on a small study in Finland linking birth control use to Type 2 Diabetes – and now news from the North American Menopause Society 23rd Annual Meeting is suggesting that hot flashes (hot flushes for our UK sisters) and night sweats are  linked to insulin resistance.  Seems it is time to focus on hormone balancing as preventive care.

Hot Flashes Linked to Insulin Resistance

Medscape Medical News from the:
North American Menopause Society (NAMS) 23rd Annual Meeting

Fran Lowry

Dr. Rebecca Thurston

October 11, 2012 (Orlando, Florida) — Hot flashes and night sweats appear to be linked to higher serum glucose levels and indicators of insulin resistance, according to data presented here at the North American Menopause Society 23rd Annual Meeting. Emerging research signals a link between menopausal hot flashes and cardiovascular risk, Rebecca Thurston, PhD, from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, told Medscape Medical News.

This latest finding, from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), a large, longitudinal cohort study that follows women as they transition into menopause, adds insulin resistance to the other cardiovascular risk factors that have been linked to bothersome vasomotor symptoms in menopausal women.

“The SWAN findings show that vasomotor symptoms, particularly more frequent and severe vasomotor symptoms, may be a marker of underlying cardiovascular change for women,” Dr. Thurston explained.

“We previously found increased atherosclerosis, elevated lipids, and elevated blood pressure in women with vasomotor symptoms; now we are showing elevated insulin resistance. These are all cardiovascular risk factors that fit together in the same puzzle,” she said.

Dr. Thurston emphasized that it is premature to claim that there is a causal link between vasomotor symptoms and cardiovascular risk. However, the message for clinicians is that if a woman in their practice is having frequent vasomotor symptoms, particularly if the symptoms occur later, rather than earlier, after menopause, this might be a clue to do a more intense cardiovascular work-up.

“This is a reminder that as women are transitioning through menopause, their cardiovascular health is oftentimes changing, and usually not for the better,” Dr. Thurston added.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.