Vascular dysfunction tied to greater frequency, severity of menopausal symptoms
Vascular dysfunction in women across the menopause stages is associated with increased frequency and severity of menopausal symptoms and lower quality of life (QOL), but not depression, a study has found.
Researchers looked at 138 women (aged 19–70 years) grouped according to their menopausal stage: premenopausal (n=41; mean age 34 years), early perimenopausal (n=25; mean age 49 years), late perimenopausal (n=26; mean age 50 years), early postmenopausal (n=22; mean age 55 years) and late postmenopausal (n=24; mean age 61 years).
Assessments included arterial stiffness (carotid artery compliance), endothelial function (brachial artery flow-mediated dilation [FMD]), menopausal symptoms (Menopausal Symptom List), depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale [CES-D]) and QOL (Utian QOL Scale).
Across menopause stages, menopausal symptoms, depression and QOL worsened, particularly in late perimenopausal women.
Vasosomatic symptom frequency and general somatic symptom frequency and severity showed inverse correlations with carotid artery compliance and FMD (p<0.05 for all). However, only correlations with general somatic symptoms remained significant after controlling for multiple comparisons.
Total QOL was positively associated with carotid artery compliance (p=0.01). On the other hand, CES-D scores were associated with neither carotid artery compliance nor FMD (p=0.35).
Researchers highlighted the need for additional studies exploring potential mechanisms underlying the associations among vascular function, mood, QOL and menopausal symptoms, such as oxidative stress and inflammation.
A clearer understanding of such aspects of the menopausal transition is relevant for developing effective lifestyle and therapeutic interventions to foster psychosocial well-being and cardiovascular health in ageing women, they added.