Vasomotor symptoms were associated with insulin resistance, as indicated by a higher homeostasis model assessment index, during an 8-year period, according to data from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation.
According to researchers, the findings were not explained by possible cofounders, including BMI, estradiol or follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
They aimed to find the link between vasomotor symptoms and cardiovascular disease risk and conducted their study to determine whether hot flashes and night sweats were associated with metabolic abnormalities, such as higher fasting blood glucose and a higher homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) index.
The longitudinal cohort study — dubbed SWAN — included 3,075 women aged 42 to 52 years at entry. Questionnaires determined the number of hot flashes and night sweats women self-reported in the past 2 weeks (none, 1 to 5 days, ≥6 days or every day), and blood pressure, height, weight and fasting blood measures (serum glucose, insulin, estradiol and FSH) were obtained.
Using mixed models, hot flashes and night sweats were analyzed in relation to glucose and the HOMA; researchers adjusted for demographics, CV risk factors, medications and estradiol/FSH.
Women who experienced hot flashes had higher HOMA index compared with those who reported no hot flashes in multivariable models that included BMI (hot flashes 1 to 5 days vs. none: % difference = 2.37 [95% CI, 0.36-4.43] and hot flashes ≥6 days vs. none: % difference = 5.91 [95% CI, 3.17-8.72]).
Despite adjustments for estradiol and FSH, the findings persisted and were similar for night sweats. Additionally, although their findings were statistically significant, the researchers said they were modest in magnitude for the outcome glucose.
“These findings may contribute to ongoing efforts to better understand any mechanisms linking hot flashes to cardiovascular health,” they wrote.
Disclosure: Dr. Joffe has received research support from Bayer Health Care Pharmaceuticals and has performed advisory or consulting work for Sanofi-Aventis/Sunovion, Pfizer and Noven. The other researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.