It was the summer of 2002 when the news about hormone replacement therapy
(HRT) shook us to the core.
In what felt like a bomb dropped on all womankind, the U.S. federal
government halted the hormone trial of the Women's Health Initiative early – a
study designed to evaluate the risks and benefits of hormone replacement
therapy on disease prevention.
The reason: Not only had HRT failed to be the protective fountain of youth
doctors and women had long since believed, evidence was mounting...
Alzheimer's disease: A progressive disease in which nerve cells in the brain degenerate and brain matter shrinks, resulting in impaired thinking, behavior, and memory.
Amenorrhea: The absence of a woman's monthly period.
Androgens: A group of hormones that promote the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics.
Antidepressants: Medications used to treat depression.
Anti-hypertensive drugs: Medications used to treat high blood pressure.
Anti-inflammatory drugs: Drugs that reduce inflammation and/or swelling.
Anxiety: A feeling of apprehension, fear, nervousness, or dread accompanied by restlessness or tension.
Atherosclerosis: Also called hardening of the arteries, this is a disease characterized by a narrowing of the arteries caused by cholesterol-rich plaques. Atherosclerosis is a common cause of coronary artery disease or heart disease.
Biofeedback: A method of learning to voluntarily control certain body functions such as heartbeat, blood pressure, and muscle tension with the help of a special machine. This method can help control pain and other bodily functions.
Birth control: A way for men and women to prevent pregnancy. Methods include birth control pills, condoms, vaginal spermicides, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and vasectomy.
Bisphosphonates: A group of drugs used to treat or prevent osteoporosis and to treat the bone pain caused by some types of cancer.
Bladder: The sac that holds urine.
Bladder prolapse: A condition in which the bladder moves downward from its normal position. It is usually caused by a weakness in the pelvic floor after childbirth.
Bone mineral density (BMD): A term used to describe the amount of calcium present in bone.
Breast cancer: A disease in which abnormal cells in the breast divide and multiply in an uncontrolled fashion. The cells can invade nearby tissue and can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system (lymph nodes) to other parts of the body.
Calcitonin: Calcitonin is a hormone produced by cells in the thyroid gland (located in the neck). Calcitonin controls the level of calcium in the blood and assists the body in absorbing calcium into bones.
Calcium: A mineral taken in through the diet that is essential for a variety of bodily functions, such as the transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and proper heart function. Imbalances of calcium can lead to many health problems. Calcium is also important for bone health.
Cancer: A general term for more than 100 diseases in which there is an uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells. Cancer cells can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.
Cataracts: A cloudy or opaque area in the lens of the eye.
Cell proliferation: An increase in the number of cells as a result of cell growth and cell division.