There is actually little evidence suggesting that menopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy are at an increased cardiovascular disease risk.
Although the effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on CVD are favourable, these depend on the woman's age and medical background.
AdvertisementThere is a trend that HRT is cardioprotective in younger women. In older women, there is a trend to an increase in CVD risk, although this effect is not statistically significant.
In general, HRT is safe for most younger women (i.e. women going through the menopause or in the early postmenopausal period) for the relief of menopausal symptoms.
Women older than 60 years, or those with predisposing risk factors, have a very slightly increased CVD risk and should be more cautious. HRT is also known slightly to increase the risk of venous thromboembolism.
However, these risks are small and shouldn't deter women consulting their clinician about whether HRT is suitable for them. It is important that all women discuss their medical history with their clinician before deciding to take HRT.
"As regards HRT, around the time of the menopause, it has a slight beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system. If you take HRT 10 years after the menopause, it appears to have a negative effect on the cardiovascular system, but it is important to note, when re-analysing its data this negative effect is of marginal significance," said Professor Peter Collins, Professor of Clinical Cardiology at the UK's National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College and Royal Brompton Hospital and Chair of the European Society of Cardiology's Task Force on Gender.
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