Study: Hormone Replacement Therapy Reduces Risks of Heart Attacks, Heart Failure

U.S. News and World Report, as well as ABC News, are reporting the results of a new study suggesting that, for menopausal women, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may reduce the risk of dying from heart attack and heart failure. Researchers in Denmark followed about 1,000 women ages 45 to 58, who had not previously had cancer or any other major illness. Soon after these women began experiencing menopause symptoms, half the group received HRT, and half the group did not. After 10 years, when the HRT group was encouraged to stop getting the therapy, researchers found that about half as many of them suffered heart problems and heart-related deaths than the women in the non-HRT group. After six more years, women who were not taking the HRT were still 40 percent more likely to have heart problems or die.

The study, published in BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal), did not show that HRT increases the risk of breast cancer, which counters the results of a 2002 Women’s Health Initiative study. However, the WHI study analyzed older women, between 50 and 79, who may have already been deep into menopause when starting the therapy. Plus, many of the WHI study participants already had chronic diseases, ABC News says. Tobie de Villiers, president of the International Menopause Society, stressed to the The Telegraph that women in the new study began treatment at younger ages, early into menopause. “This study is of great importance as it reflects what happens in real life where women start taking HRT at the time of the menopause,” he said. “In this study HRT did not cause any major harm, and indeed resulted in significant benefits.”

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