Ask The Doctor: 04/09

There may be an indirect connection. A study of more than 5,500 menopausal women found that the 39 percent who suffered from flushing and 38 percent from night sweats were more likely to have high cholesterol and high blood pressure and to be overweight, which put them at increased risk of heart disease. If you have these risk factors, you can lower your risk of heart disease by doing everything you can to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure and lose weight before menopause begins. Since you have already finished menopause, you might want to have a cardiac checkup. When you meet with your internist or cardiologist, ask her about what measures you need to take to keep your heart healthy. On another note, women who go through menopause quickly may develop atherosclerosis more rapidly. A recently published study of women with no coronary artery disease (CAD) before menopause found that those who finished menopause within three years developed more plaque in their coronary arteries than those who took longer to make the transition. Such women should also be examined for risk factors that aggravate CAD.
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