Hormone replacement therapy does not protect the heart

March 4, 2003 in Heart Health, Menopause, Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

Hormone replacement therapy does not protect the heart

The belief that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) protects women against coronary heart disease was dealt another blow by researchers last week.

Researchers at Nottingham University said their large study had failed to find any evidence that use of HRT reduced the risk of heart disease.

The findings add to growing evidence that HRT does not protect the heart, including the large US Women's Health Initiative study, which was halted last year after it showed the therapy actually increased the risk of heart attack, stroke and dangerous blood clots.

The current study involved 417 women with existing heart disease matched to 2,435 healthy controls.

After the researchers accounted for other factors that could affect heart disease risk, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, weight and smoking, they found women on HRT were more likely than women not taking hormones to have heart disease.

There was no association for different types of HRT or routes of administration. Similarly, there was no association for current or past use and no effect for dose or duration.

There were theoretical reasons for expecting a cardioprotective effect of HRT since estrogen has a favorable effect on clotting and blood vessel function.

However recent reports had cast doubt on this because the length of time that women were on HRT and their dosage had no effect on the degree of disease reduction.

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