New data raises questions about benefits of hormone replacement and heart health

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WESTON, Fla. – Another mixed message has been sent for menopausal and post-menopausal women regarding the use of hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, to protect against heart disease.

A new scientific statement from the American Heart Association concludes that changes in hormones can affect factors such as body composition, lipids and vascular health, which can increase a woman’s chances of developing cardiovascular disease, CVD.

That is once again raising questions about the benefit versus the risk of HRT for CVD.

“I think most women who are generally young and health can benefit from hormone therapy and what the scientific statement shows is that younger women who go into menopause earlier have not only a benefit from a symptom standpoint, but also physiologically as it relates to cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Sabrina Sahni with the Cleveland Clinic Weston.

Sahni said the AHA statement emphasizes the importance of monitoring a woman’s health during mid-life in order to apply early intervention measures to maintain a healthy heart.

As far as what type of HRT works best, Sahni says research shows transdermal patches appear to be the safest and carry the lowest risk of stroke and blood clot.

And a recent meta-analysis finds that younger women with a history of breast cancer are less likely to get pregnant compared to the general public and their babies face a higher risk of certain adverse outcomes.

The study found that breast cancer survivors of childbearing age were 60 percent less likely to have a successful pregnancy post-treatment and those who did get pregnant had a higher risk of pre-term and low birth babies.


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