According to a new study, women who suffer hot flashes during menopause are almost twice as likely to fracture their hips later in life. Hip fractures are among the most damaging injuries for seniors.
Carolyn J. Crandall of UCLA, the author of the study, analyzed data for over 23,000 women between 50 and 70 years old, as well as more than 4,800 women participating in bone mineral density research. None of the women studied were using hormone therapy.
The study found that women who experience “vasomotor symptoms” (severe hot flashes during menopause) were 1.78 times more likely to fracture their hip. It also found that these women had lower bone mineral density, but strangely no greater risk for vertebrae fractures.
What causes the link between hot flashes and hip fractures? The answer is still “entirely a mystery,” Crandall said. Previous research has suggested a connection between hot flashes and risk of cardiovascular disease. Crandall hypothesizes that hormone changes that current medical technology cannot detect could be the reason behind her study’s findings. She recommends that women suffering hot flashes take steps to keep their bones healthy, such as walking, cutting down on alcohol, quitting smoking, and getting enough calcium and vitamin D.
Around 60 percent of women in menopause have hot flashes, and 80 percent experience them for five years. Some can experience hot flashes up to 10 years.
20 to 30 percent of seniors who suffer hip fractures die within a year of the injury. Many others lose basic locomotive abilities.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hot flashes, check out one of the clinical research studies offered at the Segal Institute.