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Vascular Dysfunction Linked to Greater Symptoms of Menopause

General somatic symptom severity in menopause inversely tied to carotid artery compliance and FMD

plaque in artery

THURSDAY, April 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Menopause-related general somatic symptom frequency and severity are inversely associated with arterial stiffness and endothelial function among women across the stages of menopause, according to a study published online April 11 in Menopause.

Kerry L. Hildreth, M.D., from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, and colleagues measured arterial stiffness, endothelial function, menopausal symptoms, depression, and quality of life (QOL) in 138 women classified as premenopausal (41 women), early or late perimenopausal (25 and 26 women, respectively), or early or late postmenopausal (22 and 24 women, respectively).

The researchers found that across menopausal stages, menopausal symptoms, depression, and QOL worsened, especially in late perimenopausal women. There were inverse correlations for vasosomatic symptom frequency and general somatic symptom frequency and severity with carotid artery compliance and brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD). After adjustment for multiple comparisons, only correlations with general somatic symptoms were significant. There was a positive correlation for total QOL with carotid artery compliance. No correlation was seen for the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale with carotid artery compliance or FMD.

"Vascular dysfunction across the stages of menopause was associated with greater frequency and severity of menopausal symptoms, and lower QOL, but not depression," the authors write. "Mechanisms underlying these associations (e.g., inflammation, oxidative stress) should be explored."

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