Archive for the ‘hot flash’ Category

Hot Flashes: It affects Men, Too!

August 15, 2014

We tend to associate hot flashes to women at the time of menopause. However, the condition affects men as well.

In both men and women, hormones are to blame. About 70% of women get hot flashes at the time of menopause, when estrogen levels plummet.

In men, the problem is testosterone. Normally, men don’t experience an abrupt drop in the hormone. In fact, although testosterone levels trickle down by about 1% a year after the age of 40, most men maintain levels within the normal range, and nearly all retain enough testosterone to prevent hot flashes.

The exception is men who’ve received hormonal therapy for prostate cancer that shuts down the production of testosterone. The growth of prostate cells is stimulated by testosterone, and treatments that reduce levels of the hormone or block its actions in the body can help treat the disease. Androgen deprivation can be a temporary measure to boost the effect of radiation therapy or it can be a long-term treatment for advanced prostate cancer. In the past, this was accomplished by surgically removing the testicles or by administering estrogen pills. As of mid-2005, though, treatment usually relies on injections that reduce testosterone production, such as leuprolide (Lupron) or goserelin (Zoladex), or drugs that block testosterone’s effects on tissues, such as bicalutamide (Casodex).

About 70%–80% of men who receive androgen deprivation therapy experience hot flashes.

Hot flashes feel the same to men and women: A sudden feeling of warmth or flushing that is most intense over the head and trunk, often accompanied by visible redness of the skin and by sweating, which can be profuse. Hot flashes are most common at night. They are usually brief, averaging four minutes, but often leave cold sweat behind. Flashes may be infrequent and mild or quite troublesome, sometimes occurring 6 to 10 times a day. Some people, both male and female, report anxiety, palpitations, or irritability.

Men who develop flashes during temporary androgen deprivation usually recover within three or four months of stopping treatment. However, most men don’t get over the hot flashes. In one study, over 40% of men still had flashes after more than 8 years of treatment. In another, 72% of patients said the hot flashes interfered with sleep and 59% reported they interfered with the ability to enjoy life. Fortunately, new treatments can help.
Men with prostate cancer cannot take testosterone, but they can use female hormones for hot flashes. In one study, 83% of men who tried estradiol (an estrogen) reported relief. But more than 40% experienced breast swelling or tenderness, and the trial was too brief to exclude the possibility of cardiovascular side effects. Similar studies of megestrol (Megace) and medroxyprogesterone (Provera), both members of the other group of female hormones (progesterones), have reported about 80%–90% reductions in hot flashes. But the side effects can include bloating and weight gain; in addition, the hormone appears to increase PSA levels in some patients.
Hormones can help, but newer treatments may be just as successful with fewer side effects. Two approaches have helped both men and women. One involves antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as paroxetine (Paxil) have been effective, as has a related antidepressant, venlafaxine (Effexor). Both types are well tolerated; venlafaxine can sometimes raise the blood pressure, and SSRIs can cause sexual dysfunction, but that’s not an issue for most men on androgen deprivation.

The other recent treatment uses the antiseizure medication gabapentin (Neurontin). The first reports of success were in men, but it rapidly gained wider use in women. In one study, the drug reduced the severity and frequency of hot flashes in women by 70%; dizziness is the most common side effect.

Bottom Line: Men are not immune to hot flashes. It is most common in men being treated for prostate cancer. Help is available. Let you doctor know that this is a problem and often the hot flashes can be cured or certainly can be controlled.

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Saying Goodbye To Jumping Jack “Hot” Flash

July 2, 2013

Not all women will experience hot flashes, but three out of four will, with one of 10 experiencing them through their seventies. The cause of hot flashes are the dilation of the blood vessels in the face and upper chest result in increased blood flow to these areas. Some women also sweat during hot flashes. For some women, the hot flashes are not very common and are an inconvenience. For other women, they impact the woman’s quality of life and are incapacitating. The time-honored treatment for hot flashes has been estrogen replacement therapy or hormonal therapy. While hot flashes are not dangerous, they cause discomfort, embarrassment and sleep loss. During menopause some women may have more than 10 a day.

Women with uncomfortable hot flashes now have a medication option that doesn’t involve hormones. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first nonhormonal drug to treat moderate to severe hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause. The drug, Brisdelle, contains peroxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is also the active ingredient in the antidepressant Paxil.

Many women are reluctant to treat menopausal symptoms with hormones including estrogen and progesterone, as a 2002 study conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative implied that a combination of hormones, estrogen and progesterone, with increased cancer risk.

Side effects of the drug included headache, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Brisdelle will be available starting in November.

Bottom Line: Every woman would like to have her hot flashes disappear like magic. Although estrogen replacement therapy has been effective in reducing hot flashes, many women do not want to take hormones. Brisdelle may just be the solution that many women have been waiting for.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/nonhormonal-hot-flash-treatment-approved-fda-article-1.1388094#ixzz2XvmVGY89

Hot Flashes? Exercise Your Way To Cool The Fire

January 20, 2013

Hot flashes are one of the most disturbing aspects of menopause. It makes women uncomfortable and can wreck havoc on their lives. This blog will describe how exercise can cool the hot flash.

Increased energy and a fit body are just a few of the benefits of exercising. There is another advantage of working out for women. For menopausal women who exercise, they experience fewer hot flashes in the 24 hours after physical activity.

Women who are inactive or obese are more likely to have a higher risk for hot Women in a study at Penn State had fewer hot flash symptoms following exercise. As well, women who were identified as overweight, had a lower level of fitness, or experienced more frequent or more intense hot flashes, sensed the smallest reduction in symptoms.

Bottom Line: Becoming and staying active on a regular basis as part of your lifestyle is the best way to ensure healthy aging and well being, regardless of whether you experience hot flashes or not.

The findings are published in the current issue of Menopause.

Brain Health and Your Blood Pressure-One More Reason To Check For and Treat Hypertension

Researchers at University of California, Davis found that high blood pressure could damage the brain’s structure and function in people as young as 40.

They found accelerated brain aging among hypertensive and prehypertensive individuals in their 40s, including damage to the structural integrity of the brain’s white matter and the volume of its gray matter.

This suggests that vascular brain injury develops insidiously over the lifetime with discernible effects. The study is the first to demonstrate that there is structural damage to the brains of adults in young middle age as a result of high blood pressure.

Structural damage to the brain’s white matter caused by high blood pressure has been associated with cognitive decline in older individuals.

The research emphasizes the need for lifelong attention to vascular risk factors for brain aging.

Normal blood pressure has a systolic blood pressure below 120, and a diastolic pressure below 80. Prehypertension blood pressure range is a top number between 120 and 139, and a bottom number between 80 and 89.

Elevated blood pressure affects about 50 million Americans and is associated with a 62 percent risk of cerebrovascular disease, and a 49 percent risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study says there is evidence that lowering blood pressure among people in middle age and in the young elderly can help prevent late-life cognitive decline and dementia.

Bottom Line: People can influence their late-life brain health by knowing and treating their blood pressure at a young age, when you wouldn’t necessarily be thinking about it.

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New book on women's health

New book on women’s health