Wednesday, 11 March 2015

More Evidence That Hormone Therapy Might Not Help Women's Hearts


Review also found raised risk of stroke for some, although timing of use may be a key factor

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 10, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- There's yet another study looking at the potential dangers of hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms, and this one supports the notion that the treatment may not help women's hearts.

The research, a review of collected data on the issue, found that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) does not protect most postmenopausal women against heart disease and may even increase their risk of stroke.

Also, the findings suggest that the harms and benefits of hormone therapy may vary depending on woman's age when she started the therapy, explained study lead author Dr. Henry Boardman, of the cardiovascular medicine department at the University of Oxford in England.

"This 'Timing Hypothesis' may be the critical key to the use of HRT," agreed one expert, Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

"For certain women who fit the criteria, being on HRT early in menopause may be beneficial, and the fear of taking it may be unfounded," said Steinbaum, who was not involved in the new study.

The findings were published March 10 in the journal Cochrane Library.

A woman's natural supply of estrogen diminishes after menopause, and HRT has been widely used to control menopausal symptoms. HRT has also been used to help prevent heart disease in postmenopausal women, the researchers noted.

However, results from the Women's Health Initiative study released in 2002 found that long-term use of HRT boosted a woman's odds for breast cancer as well as strokes. Those findings caused a steep drop-off in the number of women using HRT.

In the new study, Boardman and colleagues analyzed data from a variety of studies involving more than 40,000 women worldwide. The women used HRT for periods between seven months to over 10 years.

Overall, the results showed no evidence that the therapy reduces the risk of death from any cause, death from heart disease, or nonfatal heart attack or angina in healthy women or those with heart disease.

In fact, hormone therapy was associated with a slightly increased risk of stroke, the researchers found.

source : More Evidence That Hormone Therapy Might Not Help Women's Hearts

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