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Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Benefits and Risks - Heart Disease vs Cancer and Stroke

January 24th 2006

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Benefits and Risks - Heart Disease vs Cancer and Stroke

Brigham Hospital

Women that start hormone replacement therapy (HRT) at a younger age are better off than women who start 10 years after menopause begins or after the age of 60, according to a new study.  Dr. JoAnn E. Manson of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston said “The timing of hormone therapy in relation to age and time since menopause may be a key factor in whether these hormones protect the heart or increase risk of heart disease.”

Manson and her colleagues were interested in the association between heart disease and HRT, as they relate to age.  They utilized women in the Nurses’ Health Study that was conducted between 1976 and 2000 to correlate a relationship.  From this data the team found that women who started HRT near the beginning of menopause had a significantly reduced risk of heart disease compared with women who didn't start HRT. 


JoAnn is worried that women who are good candidates for HRT may be scared away by research that suggests no heart benefit from the therapy.  Some women may worry that they may succumb to heart disease if they undertake the therapy.  She said "The risk of heart disease and stroke are lower in the younger, recently menopausal women," Forbes reported. 

By starting HRT younger, at an age closer to the onset of menopause, women have a 30% lower risk of coronary heart disease compared to women who never use hormones.  Women who start later have no cardiovascular benefit from the therapy.


This research is important because a recent study raised concerns involving the therapy.  The Women’s Health Initiative, involving 27,000 participants found that HRT caused new health risks, including a higher risk of breast cancer and stroke.  Many women became concerned and either did not start the therapy or discontinued it.

According to the researches Estrogen will “actually delay the development of artherosclerosis” in younger women.  Older women may already have damage to their blood vessels and HRT “may be more likely to cause a clot”.  The report appears in the January/February issue of the Journal of Women’s Health.

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

Books on Heart Disease

Keywords and misspellings:  dash deit blood presure stroke embolism imbolism embilism embelism boode clot


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