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Women's Health
Useful Menopause Information

Menopause and the risk of heart disease and stroke

Compared to men, many women before the age of menopause seem to be partly protected from coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke. As women age, their risk of heart disease and stroke rises. Coronary heart disease rates in women after menopause are 2–3 times higher than in women of the same age before menopause.

AHA Recommendation

The reasons for the lower incidence of coronary heart disease and stroke in younger women aren't clear. The loss of natural estrogen as women age may contribute to the higher risk of heart disease after menopause. However, in light of recent results from clinical trials, the American Heart Association does not advise women to take postmenopausal hormone therapy (PHT, formerly called hormone replacement therapy or HRT) to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke.

Questions and answers about postmenopausal hormone therapy

If you’ve gone through menopause or had your ovaries removed, you may be taking or considering estrogen or estrogen plus progestin. Many people have been confused and alarmed by the news about the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), which investigated two forms of PHT (estrogen only and estrogen plus progestin). To help you understand what the results of this study mean, see the entry Estrogen and Cardiovascular Diseases in Women. Before you make any decisions about PHT, though, it’s very important to consult your physician.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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