Thousands of women are finding relief with hormone therapy for a number of symptoms experienced during menopause. Recently two studies looked at hormone therapy and heart disease. We have more on their relationship and who's at risk.
Attitudes on hormone therapy changed abruptly in 2002 when a large clinical trial found that the treatment actually posed more health risks than benefits for postmenopausal women. Eight years later, 2 very large studies looked at postmenopausal women who had used hormone therapy for a number of years and found they were at greater risk for heart disease. A cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic spoke about the study at the North Central Heart Fall Symposium.
Mayo Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Patricia Best says, "People who started on hormone therapy many years after menopause were the ones whose risk is significant for having heart attacks and other cardiovascular events with hormone therapy."
The Director of Women's Health at Avera McKennan, Deb Soholt says it's important to note that the study focused on only older women.
Deb Soholt, RN,MS says. "Every woman needs to be looked at individually. Every woman has to look at what cardiac risk factors does she bring to the table and how do we minimalize her personal risk. What kind of hormones do we need to use, if any at all, many times it's a lifestyle change, eating different, moving different, and trying to get you back to sleep. If you have so many symptoms you can't sleep than you are going to be at more risk for cardiac disease."
Dr. Best says, "For women who have established cardiovascular disease generally they should not be on hormonal therapy because the risk is greater than the benefit and for women right around the age of menopause we use a safer hormone therapy."
Soholt says, "The whole thing is this; use the least amount of hormone, for the least amount of time to get you back in balance for you."
We all want to achieve balance in our lives and that includes balancing the hormones in our body and weighing their benefits against their risks.