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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.

Taking 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 sleep problems.

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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 you.

For more information about heart disease, risk factors, prevention, and treatment, see the topic Coronary Artery Disease.

Citations

  1. Rossouw JE, et al. (2007). Postmenopausal hormone therapy and risk of cardiovascular disease by age and years since menopause. JAMA, 297(13): 1465-1477.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Last Revised May 4, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 04, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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