Heart Disease, Postmenopause, and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Postmenopausal women have a
higher risk of developing heart disease than younger women. The use of
hormone replacement therapy (HRT) does not prevent
heart disease. In fact, HRT increases heart-related risks.
estrogen with or without
progestin does not prevent coronary artery disease. In
fact, if you are 10 or more years past menopause, taking
hormone therapy may raise your risk of coronary artery
disease.1 Talk to your doctor about your
risks with hormone therapy. And carefully weigh the
benefits against the risks of taking it. If you need
relief for symptoms of menopause, hormone therapy is one choice you can think
about. But there are other types of treatment for problems like hot flashes and
Heart disease has haunted generations of Robin Drummond's family. "I have a
family history of
heart disease on both sides," says the 55-year-old African-American and
resident of Hammond, La. "I've had uncles, aunts, and grandparents who've died
heart attacks and heart disease, and two of my mother's brothers died four
months apart. One had a heart attack in church, and four months later, one had
a heart attack in the post office."
When Drummond's father succumbed to heart disease...
If you have risk factors for heart disease, you already have heart disease, or you have had a stroke, take steps to reduce your
risk factors by quitting smoking if you're a smoker, exercising regularly,
controlling your blood pressure, and keeping your cholesterol low with a
healthy diet and a cholesterol-lowering (statin) medicine, if needed.
Talk to your doctor to find out whether a daily low-dose aspirin is right
For more information about heart disease, risk factors,
prevention, and treatment, see the topic Coronary Artery Disease.
Rossouw JE, et al. (2007). Postmenopausal hormone
therapy and risk of cardiovascular disease by age and years since menopause.
JAMA, 297(13): 1465-1477.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
May 4, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
May 04, 2010
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