Study Links Muscle Mass to Severity of Hot Flashes in Women

By Robert Preidt
Health Day reporter

FRIDAY, Nov 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Older women with muscle loss are less likely to have menopause-related hot flashes, according to a new study.

Loss of muscle mass and function (sarcopenia) is one of the most important changes that occurs with age, and older women are at increased risk due to changes in sex hormones after menopause.

Other risk factors for sarcopenia include inactivity, lower protein intake, changes in growth hormone levels, and increased inflammation.

There is a known link between age-related muscle loss and menopause, but the link between sarcopenia and various menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes is less clear.

In this study of nearly 300 Korean women between the ages of 40 and 65, researchers led by Dr. Hyuntae Park, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Korea University College of Medicine in Seoul, studied the association between body composition – including fat and muscle – and hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.

Park and his colleagues found that hot flashes are less common in women with sarcopenia, according to the study published online Nov. 8 in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

The new findings are “particularly important given the aging population and the links between sarcopenia in older women and reduced mobility, increased risk of falls and reduced health span, and quality of life,” noted Dr Stéphanie Faubion, medical director of NAMS. She spoke in a press release for the company.

Older women with muscle loss are at increased risk of reduced mobility, reduced quality of life, heart disease, and fall-related injuries.

Previous studies of hot flashes focused on the relationship between body mass index (an estimate of body fat based on height and weight) and waist circumference, but they did not assess percentage of fat in relation to muscle.

Hot flashes are one of the most common and bothersome symptoms of menopause and are associated with several chronic conditions, including obesity, insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes), osteoporosis and heart disease.

More information

The US National Institute on Aging has more on hot flashes.

SOURCE: North American Menopause Society, press release, November 10, 2021

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