Women with a history of preeclampsia or other hypertensive pregnancy diseases are more likely than women with normotensive pregnancies to experience vasomotor menopausal symptoms during the transition to a postmenopausal state, reported researchers from The Netherlands in an article published online in Menopause, the official journal of The North American Menopause Society.1
According to the study authors, several female-specific cardiovascular risk factors have been identified, including hypertensive pregnancy diseases and vasomotor menopausal symptoms. To better understand these associations, researchers studied whether there is any relationship between hypertensive pregnancy disease and vasomotor menopausal symptoms. According to the study authors, this is the first study to examine a possible association between hypertensive pregnancy disease and vasomotor menopausal symptoms.
The data, which was later analyzed using logistic regression analysis, was collected from 853 women who visited an outpatient cardiovascular clinic for women between 2003 and 2010. In addition to a physical examination and blood analysis, each participant completed a questionnaire on history of hypertensive pregnancy disorder, demographic characteristics, and vasomotor menopausal symptoms. The average age of the participants was 55.5 years.
Of the 853 participants, 274 women (32%) reported a history of hypertensive pregnancy disorders. Vasomotor menopausal symptoms, specifically hot flashes and night sweats, were reported by 83% of women with a history of hypertensive pregnancy disorder and by 75% of women with normotensive pregnancies, a slight but significant difference, said the study authors. In addition, vasomotor menopausal symptoms occurred more frequently and over a longer duration (at least 1 year) in women with a history of hypertensive pregnancy diseases. The study authors also reported that vasomotor menopausal symptoms were more severe in the hypertensive pregnancy diseases group, but the difference between study groups did not reach significance.
Approximately half of the women in this study had some form of cardiovascular symptoms. Therefore, it is unclear whether this association is relevant to the general population, the study authors explained. However, these findings suggest that there is evidence linking hypertensive pregnancy diseases and vasomotor symptoms that begin after menopause with risk of cardiovascular disease. The study authors urge all physicians to keep these associations in mind as their patients get older.
- Women with a history of hypertension during pregnancy are more likely to experience troublesome hot flashes and night sweats during menopause.
- Both hypertension during pregnancy and vasomotor menopausal symptoms are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
1. Dost JT, van der Schouw YT, Herber-Gast GC, Maas AH. More vasomotor symptoms in menopause among women with a history of hypertensive pregnancy diseases compared with women with normotensive pregnancies. Menopause. April 1, 2013. [Epub ahead of print.]