The AHA Revises Its HRT Guidelines
In light of recent research, the American Heart Association is clarifying its
previous recommendations about estrogen or hormone replacement therapy for menopausal
women. According to the AHA, women currently taking hormone replacement therapy
or HRT for the non-cardiac benefits do not need to stop. But women should
not start taking hormones just because of concerns about preventing heart
trouble, especially if they already have heart disease.
Doctors long believed that HRT has preventive benefits for women against heart
disease. But the AHA is concerned about some conflicting evidence that has come
out over the past few years. Three different studies have suggested that while
HRT does provide preventive cardiac benefits for healthy menopausal women,
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
[The new guidelines [published in Circulation, a journal of the
American Heart Association, 7/01] represent a shift from 1999 guidelines, in
which the AHA said that doctors may consider the use of HRT to help prevent
Currently, various forms of HRT combining estrogen and progesterone are prescribed
to about 20 million American women. They are indicated and FDA approved
to treat menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and to prevent or treat osteoporosis.
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Created: 9/7/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.