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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Women's Health Channel
Reported October 15, 2012

Hormone Therapy Reduces Heart Risks

(Ivanhoe Broadcast)—Hot flashes, night sweats, irritability: Menopausal symptoms disrupt the lives of over 50 million women in the United States. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) provides some relief, but past studies link the treatment to health risks which may outweigh benefits.

Danish researchers published a study that shows hormone treatment, despite previous cautionary findings, may improve cardiovascular wellness: HRT reduced heart attack and heart failure frequency with no significant linkage to cancer among study participants.

The study authors conducted a randomized trial with just over 1,000 women between 45 and 58 years-old, with roughly half of the group undergoing HRT. The ten-year initial investigation did not include any patients who recently had HRT, a history of cancer, bone disease or uncontrolled chronic disease.

Researchers tracked death and hospitalization for heart disease or heart failure for both groups and found that HRT patients were significantly less likely to succumb to cardiovascular ailments when compared to the non-HRT group.

Though the study discontinued the use of HRT treatments due to health concerns published by other researchers, authors continued to analyze participants for an additional six years.

During this time period, study authors found about 58 percent of deaths in the non-HRT group were cardiovascular, while about 22 percent of deaths in the HRT group were linked to heart attack or heart failure.

The study also found that younger participants and those who had a hysterectomy in the HRT group had reduced mortality rates and were less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Women in the HRT group "had significantly reduced risk of mortality, heart failure, or myocardial infarction [heart attack], without any apparent increase of cancer, venous thromboembolisms [DVT] or stroke," the study authors were quoted as saying in prepared statement.

The authors emphasize that more work over a longer time scale needs to be completed to better evaluate patient risks and benefits associated with HRT.

Source: British Medical Journal, American Heart Association:

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