Hot Flashes During Menopause Can Be An Indication Of Adverse Mental Health Conditions Like Dementia

Menopause is characterised by the onset of hot flashes and night sweats. And yet, maybe they're trying to tell us something else. Women who experience more menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats, may have more white matter hyperintensities, according to a new study that appears in the online issue of Neurology.
There is some evidence that these microscopic brain lesions contribute to the development of stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and general mental deterioration.
Women are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer's disease, and recent studies suggest that their risk rises after menopause.
According to statistics cited by the Alzheimer's Association, women make up roughly two-thirds of the disease's affected population.
However, the results of this study suggest that there may be a connection between the presence of these common symptoms and white matter hyperintensities in the brain, which in turn may increase the risk of stroke, dementia, and general cognitive decline.
This research involved 226 non-hormone-therapy-using women, with an average age of 59. Over the course of a 24-hour period, the women experienced five hot flashes or night sweats, on average (roughly three while awake and two while sleeping).
Participants were observed for a total of three days. The first 24 hours of the study involved participants wearing a device that detects hot flashes and night sweats by recording the body's temperature. They kept a digital diary for three days, recording their own experiences with hot flashes and night sweats. They also kept a sleep diary and wore a wrist device that tracked their slumber. Blood tests and brain scans measuring white matter hyperintensities in six regions of the brain were performed on subjects after the three days were up.
According to Thurston, "these results call into question the widespread view that hot flashes and night sweats are benign symptoms that don't have much impact in women's medical care," and highlight the possible linkages between these symptoms and brain health. For women, "hot flashes have the potential to act as a midlife marker of brain health," which could one day aid in the identification of those who are at increased risk for dementia.

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