Our culture has gone from ignoring the menopause to medicalizing it. Western medicines now take this normal transition as Oestrogen-deficiency disease. Many women are enthusiastic receiver of hormone replacement therapy and yet many live perfectly without it. The question here: is HRT(Hormone Replacement Therapy) the likely solution to healthy ageing in women? If hormone replacement therapy is a good advocation, need I remind us of Japanese women that have naturally low level of Oestrogen and yet they have the lowest rate for coronary diseases, low level of menopausal symptoms and one of the greatest
Does taking Hormone Replacement Therapy reduce or increase the risks of heart disease in those who take it? After all, many physicians now recommend it for the prevention of Oesteoporosis(loss of bone minerals), heart disease as well as the relieve of menopausal symptoms, to lower the risk of Alzheimers disease(Dementia) and the cancer of the bowel.
But unfortunately, the answer to whether HRT actually reduce the risk of heart disease is not straight-forward and so it is still unproven.
There are good reasons to suggest why HRT should be beneficial in terms of heart health. Most of its formulations consists of a combination Oestrogen and Progestogen. Oestrogen is known to increase HDL-C, the good cholesterol and reduce LDL-C, the bad one resulting in lower risk of coronary disease. Moreover, it also improves blood flow through the arteries. Theoretically, Progestogen is said to have the opposite effect. The reason progestogen is being added to HRT preparation is because Oestrogen alone may increase the risk of uterine cancer. So adding Progestogen reduce this risk entirely.
Studies have actually shown a reduction in coronary heart disease risk among HRT users compared with non users.but these studies were also inconclusive and cannot be regarded as entirely reliable. Because by randomized trials, it was found that healthy women are the ones showing impressive results than women already with heart disease. In other words, HRT did not benefit women who already have evidence of heart disease.
The Risks of HRT
There are three main risks associated with Oestrogen replacement therapy
Breast Cancer: This risk is real and is related to the length of time of the therapy. The risk is increased by 30 per cent after five years of taking it. Women with a history of breast or who have close relatives with the disease should see a specialist before starting on HRT. Fortunately, the risk of breast cancer disappears entirely within five years of stopping HRT even after a long time of use.
In case of uterine cancer, the risk as earlier indicated is largely removed by the addition of a Progestogen.
HRT may also increase the risk of Venous Thrombosis, but this risk is quite small, about one in every five hundred users per year.
The use of HRT in the short term to reduce menopausal symptoms may not be a problem, however long time use can be a dilemma. This is a question of balancing the risks against the benefits in your own case. So you need to have a careful discussion with your family doctor and in the end you can decide where you want to put your risks.
Hey! Remember you can always change your mind.
Miracle is an expert researcher on health matters especially heart health, women health and environmental health issues, a motivational speaker and a teacher. I love teaching and writing articles on these topics. My desire is to share the insight gained from this experience to positively affect people’s lives. Welcome to the world of health matters. For more information, visit http://www.heartcares.blogspot.com