Effect of Hormone Therapy Use On Recurrent Coronary Events

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

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After menopause, many women turn to hormone therapy to help alleviate the symptoms caused by a lack of estrogen. Many problems, conditions and diseases arise due to a lack of estrogen so it is very common for women to seek the refuge of hormone therapy after menopause.

Infortunately, hormone therapy is like all medications - it is not a magical cure-all and most certainly not without its own large list of unwanted and sometimes even fatal side effects. Among the ever growing lists of concerns is the apparent risk of coronary heart disease death of women who use hormone therapy and who have already had, and survived, a myocardial infarction. To determine the risk factor, this study was developed.

Coronary heart disease is the primary cause of death in females. The amount of deaths due to coronary heart disease is greater than any other diseases put together, including cancer. Due to this shocking statistic, there is much ongoing research to figure out why the numbers are so high and how to lower them. New questions arise about the role of hormone therapy use in post menopause women with coronary heart disease.

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The results from the Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study (HERS) were looked over. Included in the study were 981 women past the stages of menopause. All of the participants were between the ages of 30 to 79 years and had already experienced a myocardial infarction between July 1986 and December 1996. Data on their hormone therapy use was received from the Group Health Cooperative computerized pharmacy database.

Included risk factors were smoking status, weight, hysterectomy status, cholesterol level as well as medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and congestive heart failure.

The women had undergone annual follow-ups to update data on hormone therapy use and health. After three and a half years of follow-up, the results revealed that 186 of the 981 women had recurrent coronary events. These findings lead to the conclusion that there was no change in the risk of reccurring coronary events between current hormone therapy users and non hormone therapy users. There was however a greater increase of risk for hormone therapy users during the first sixty days of starting hormone therapy use. This risk reduced however after year long or more use.

Hormone therapy has its lists of pros and cons. Usually only the negatives of hormone therapy are focused on, but as this study has shown, it is not completely bad in all areas. Fortunately for women currently with coronary heart disease, hormone therapy use does not increase the risk of death from the disease.