What Your Hot Flashes May Be Telling You

Got hot flashes? Your bones could be at risk.

by Elizabeth Devita-Raeburn
Photograph: Illustration by Shout

A new study by researchers at UCLA found that women who experience hot flashes are more likely to have lower bone density than other women. What’s the connection? One theory: Stress hormones, which have been linked to bone weakening, could play a role in the development of both problems, says study author Carolyn J. Crandall, MD. But hot flash sufferers shouldn’t panic, she notes. Those who participated in the study had not yet developed osteoporosis, which means you may have a chance to prevent the disease. “Women with hot flashes should be [especially conscientious] about meeting the daily requirements for calcium ?and vitamin D,” Crandall ?says. For women over ?50, that’s 1,200 milligrams of calcium and between 800 IU and 1,000 IU of vitamin D; most women under 50 need 1,000 milligrams of calcium and between 400 IU and 800 IU of vitamin D.
Crandall also endorses the other recommendations issued by the National Osteoporosis Foundation:? 30 minutes of weight-bearing, impact exercise (such as jogging) most days of the week, in addition to resistance exercise (like lifting weights) two to three times a week. For additional workout tips, ?go to National Osteoporosis Foundation’s guidelines.

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