Hormone Replacement Therapy and Heart Disease - update

Previous studies have linked Hormone Replacement Therapy in women to increased incidence of heart disease. (Click here for details). A new study, in the Journal of Women's Health questions these conclusions. The central issue is that in previous studies, many of the participants started taking hormones long after menopause set in. Possibly, heart disease developed during and after menopause, but before starting HRT. In that case, HRT would not reverse heart disease that has already progressed; rather, the tendency of blood to clot would be enhanced by HRT, leading to more heart problems. An article published in the Journal of Women's Health examines this possibility. They attempted to determine whether the length of time between menopause and the start of HRT influences the risk of getting CHD. They find that if women start HRT near menopause, they reduce the risk of CHD (when taking estrogen alone, or when taking estrogen with progestin). This study strongly suggests that HRT started at menopause is not detrimental to cardiac health, and may be beneficial. Personally, we believe that it will take several more years of study before this issue is resolved.

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Last Modification - January 31, 2006