Menopause Symptom Severity May Predict Heart Disease

A narrowed artery
A narrowed artery
Researchers examined whether menopausal symptoms, quality of life, and depression are related to arterial stiffness, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Vascular dysfunction was associated with greater frequency and severity of menopausal symptoms and lower quality of life (QoL), leading researchers to believe menopause symptom severity may help predict cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.1 This research was published in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Kerry L. Hildreth, MD, from the department of medicine, division of geriatric medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, and colleagues, examined whether menopausal symptoms, QoL, and depression are related to arterial stiffness, measured by carotid artery compliance and endothelial function.

The study was comprised of 138 women who were either premenopausal (n=41), early (n=25) or late perimenopausal (n=26), or early (n=22) or late postmenopausal (n=24).

Endothelial function was reduced and arterial stiffness was elevated across all menopause stages, but particularly in late perimenopausal women. General somatic symptom frequency and severity, as well as vasosomatic symptom frequency, was inversely associated with carotid artery compliance and flow-mediated dilation (r = −0.27 to −0.18; all P <.05).

Total QoL was positively correlated with carotid artery compliance (r = 0.23; P =.01). No association was found with depressive symptoms.

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Across all stages of menopause, vascular dysfunction and arterial stiffening, major risk factors for the development of CVD, were linked to menopausal symptoms and QoL. “Perimenopausal and early menopausal women are more vulnerable to increased risk of cardiovascular disease,” wrote Dr JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director in a press release.2 “With fluctuating and then declining estrogen during the menopause transition, it is importance to monitor mood, blood pressure, lipids, blood sugars, and body composition,”2 Dr Pinkerton added.


  1. Hildreth KL, Ozemek C, Kohrt WM, Blatchford PJ, Moreau KL. Vascular dysfunction across the stages of the menopausal transition is associated with menopausal symptoms and quality of life [published online April 11, 2018]. Menopause. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000001112
  2. Severity of menopause symptoms could help predict heart disease [press release]. Cleveland, OH: The North American Menopause Society; April 11, 2018. Accessed April 11, 2018.