Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Increase Heart Disease?

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Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Increase Heart Disease Risk?

Many women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms and have low estrogen may worry that hormone replacement therapy can increase the risk of heart disease. In case you didn’t already know, a woman’s risk of heart disease increases as she gets older and having lower levels of estrogen can also increase that risk. But according to data gathered from studies done and reported on in this article there is also a small increase in risk for blood clots, strokes and heart disease in postmenopausal women who opt for hormone replacement therapy.

So what’s a gal to do? First, every woman is different. Speak with your doctor and go over your concerns about the potential increased risk for heart disease. Are there other factors in your health that could make that slight increase more pronounced? Is there a family history of heart disease? Do you have high cholesterol? Are there changes you could make in your diet or exercise habits that could help reduce some of those risk factors?

Next, consider how much of an impact your menopausal symptoms are having on your life. If you’re having hot flashes that are making sleep difficult or are having other symptoms that could improve with hormone replacement therapy, the benefits may trump the risks. Short-term hormone replacement therapy can often relieve many symptoms like hot flashes without significantly increasing your risk for heart disease.

In fact, if you started menopause after the age of 40, your risk of heart disease is lower than women who began having menopausal symptoms under the age of 40. For women who use hormone replacement therapy before age 60, there is less increase in the risk of heart disease from the therapy. And some studies have found that the estrogen replacement may help your heart when taken at the onset of menopause.

Some tips from the article mentioned above to reduce your risk of heart disease while using hormone replacement therapy include those listed below.

1) Take the smallest doses of replacement hormones for the shortest amount of time necessary.
2) Stop smoking.
3) Try to eat healthy foods and limit your cholesterol intake.
4) Get regular exercise.
5) Keep your blood pressure under control.

Always discuss your concerns with your doctor, as every case is different due to individual health levels and personal medical history. But in many cases, hormone replacement therapy can be used safely without a significant additional risk of heart disease.

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