New American Heart Association Scientific Advisory on HRT
In light of recent research, the American Heart Association (AHA) has published
a Scientific Advisory entitled "Hormone Replacement Therapy and Cardiovascular
Disease" (Circulation, 7/24/01). In it, the AHA clarifies its recommendations
about estrogen and hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women. According
to the AHA, women currently taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for the
non-cardiac benefits do not need to stop. But women should not start
taking hormones just to try to prevent heart trouble, especially
if they already have heart disease. This is called "secondary prevention".
Doctors have long believed that, for women, HRT has preventive benefits against
heart disease. But the AHA is concerned about some conflicting evidence that
has come to light over the past few years. Three different studies have suggested
that while HRT does provide preventive cardiac benefits for healthy
menopausal women ("primary prevention"), women who already have established
heart disease or who have already had a heart attack may not get a substantial
cardiac benefit. In fact, those women may have an increased risk of
cardiac problems in their first year of HRT.
Currently, various forms of HRT combining estrogen and progesterone
are prescribed to about 20 million American women. HRT is not indicated to
prevent or treat heart disease. HRT is indicated--and FDA approved--to
treat menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, and to prevent or treat osteoporosis.
For more information about menopause, click here. For more information
about women and heart disease, click here.
Created: 7/26/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.