Menopausal hormone therapy and its association with heart disease
Hormone therapy helps treat uncomfortable symptoms of menopause. However, this approach comes with potential risks to the heart and is not suitable for everyone. More research is needed to better understand the relationship between menopausal hormone therapy and heart disease.
1. Results of the studies
Long-term hormone replacement therapy is widely used, indicated for postmenopausal women to relieve hot flashes and other uncomfortable symptoms. However, it is also thought to increase the risk of heart disease. Before menopause, women have a lower risk of heart disease than men. But as a woman ages and estrogen levels drop after menopause, a woman's risk of heart disease increases. In general, women of all ages should be aware of the risk of heart disease. Nearly 1 in 3 US women die each year from heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease.
During the 1980s and 1990s, experts advised older women to take estrogen and other hormones to keep their hearts healthy. But now, the application of menopausal hormone therapy has produced some contradictory results. Many of the expected benefits did not materialize in large numbers of women using it. Not only that, the trial found a small increased risk of heart disease in postmenopausal women who used combined hormone therapy (both estrogen and progestin). Meanwhile, women who use estrogen alone have no increased risk of heart disease.
Other studies show that hormone therapy, especially estrogen alone, may not affect or even reduce the risk of heart disease if taken early in the early postmenopausal years. However, study results can be influenced by many factors, such as:
Participants' age Time since menopause Time hormone therapy use So more research is needed study to help doctors better understand the relationship between menopausal hormone therapy and heart disease.
2. Evaluate benefits and risks
If you are suffering from unpleasant menopausal symptoms, but are also worried about the adverse effects of hormone therapy on your heart, talk to your doctor to review and assess your risk together. personal. In addition, the following points should be kept in mind:
The risk of heart disease for a woman taking hormone therapy is very low If you are in early menopause, have moderate to severe hot flashes, accompanied by other unpleasant symptoms, the benefits of hormone therapy may outweigh any potential heart disease risks.
The risk of developing heart disease in postmenopausal women depends on many individual factors including personal and family medical history, as well as habits and lifestyle. After a review and evaluation by your doctor, if you have a low risk of heart disease and your menopausal symptoms are significantly affecting your life, hormone therapy is a reasonable option.
Women with early menopause or premature ovarian failure are at another risk If you stop menstruating before age 40 (premature menopause) or lose normal ovarian function before age 40 (premature ovarian failure), you are at risk. are more likely to have heart disease and coronary artery disease than postmenopausal women in their 50s. Women with premature ovarian failure are more likely to receive hormone therapy to protect against heart disease.
In addition, the risks of treating menopausal symptoms with hormones can vary depending on:
The hormone estrogen alone or in combination with a progestin Current age and age at menopause Dose, type of estrogen and route, or method of administration (oral, transdermal, vaginal) Other health factors, such as family history and cancer risk In general, menopausal hormone therapy is not for who has had a heart attack. If you already have heart disease or a history of blood clots, the risks of hormone therapy outweigh the potential benefits.
3. How to limit the risk of heart disease in postmenopausal women
To reduce your risks from hormone treatment for menopause, you can consult with your doctor in the following ways:
Low-dose hormone therapy Estrogen and progestin are available in many forms, including pills, skin patches, gels, vaginal creams and suppositories (medicines that place and dissolve in the vagina). Low-dose estrogen preparations can effectively treat menopausal symptoms, while minimizing absorption into the body. Likewise, hormones delivered through the skin are not extensively metabolized into the body, making unwanted side effects less likely.
Minimize the amount of medication The lowest effective dose should be used for the shortest time, just enough to control symptoms. However, women under 45 years of age need to take enough estrogen to protect against the long-term effects of estrogen deficiency. If you experience persistent menopausal symptoms that significantly reduce your quality of life, your doctor may recommend longer-term treatment.
Implement a healthy lifestyle Choosing a heart-healthy lifestyle is one way to combat the risks of developing heart disease. Specifically, do not smoke tobacco of any kind; regular physical activity; stick to a healthy diet , focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat proteins; maintain a healthy weight. Regular check-ups, including blood pressure and cholesterol measurements, are also important steps in detecting early signs of heart disease in postmenopausal women.
Monitor hormone therapy regularly It is advisable to visit your doctor periodically to monitor the effectiveness of menopausal hormone therapy, to ensure the benefits still outweigh the risks. In addition, attention should be paid to screening for cancer risk by mammography and gynecological examination.
In summary, within the first 5 years of menopause, most healthy women can safely take short-term hormone therapy, which helps manage menopausal symptoms without significantly increasing their risk of heart disease. . If you experience typical menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, vaginal dryness or insomnia, talk to your doctor about how to manage uncomfortable symptoms without endangering your health.
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Reference source: mayoclinic.org