Women Taking Hormone Replacement Had Lower Risk of Heart Disease and Death, Recent Study Shows
Middle-aged women the world over know the many discomforts that can arise during menopause. Due to plummeting hormone levels, everything from hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness to depression and other serious health concerns can show up, making life miserable and hard to manage.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has long been a controversial treatment used for menopausal women, and to this day, many doctors advise against it due to concerns about breast cancer and heart disease. But a new study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center found that women using hormone replacement therapy actually experienced a lower risk of heart disease and early death than women not receiving the therapy.
Estrogen Protects the Heart
Study author Yoav Arnson, MD, a postdoctoral scientist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, thinks that one reason for the study’s favorable results is that estrogen has protective effects on the heart because it lowers bad cholesterol and boosts the flexibility of blood vessels. Menopause brings with it a significant loss of estrogen, and by extension, an increased risk of heart disease—and replacing that lost estrogen through hormone replacement therapy may improve cardiovascular health and boost longevity.
Researchers analyzed the medical records of more than 4,000 women between the years 1998 and 2012, reviewing their coronary calcium score (a higher score indicates a higher risk of heart attack or stroke) as well as other cardiovascular risk factors, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. The women who received hormone replacement therapy were 30 percent less likely to die and 20 percent more likely to have the lowest possible score on their coronary calcium scan—indicating lower levels of plaque buildup in the arteries of their hearts—when compared with women who were not receiving the therapy.
These results led Arnson to state that hormone replacement therapy is beneficial from a cardiovascular standpoint. However, further studies need to be performed in order to determine if any group of women might not benefit from it, or might suffer negative effects.
Why Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Have a Bad Rap?
So if it’s capable of protecting your heart and prolonging your life, why does hormone replacement therapy have such a bad reputation in the Western medical community? Most of this comes from the results of a landmark study published fifteen years ago called The Women’s Health Initiative, in which breast cancer, heart disease, and other health problems were tied to the use of traditional, non-bioidentical hormones in women.
However, the field of hormone health has come a long way since then, and there are many ways to safely use hormone therapy to great benefit. For instance, there is a big difference between the non-bioidentical hormones used in the Women’s Health Initiative study, which can pose legitimate health risks, and bioidentical hormones, which research shows can improve cholesterol levels, weight, bone health, and more in women. Physicians within the BodyLogicMD network only use bioidentical hormones, which are identical in structure to the kind produced naturally in the body, and they have advanced training in testing and monitoring hormone health for optimum effect.
BodyLogicMD affiliated practitioners are skilled at optimizing hormone levels for women in perimenopause, menopause, and any other stage of their lives, as well as men, who may suffer from the effects of low testosterone, especially in middle age and beyond. Using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, the practitioners within the BodyLogicMD network work to bring your hormones back into balance and reverse bothersome menopausal symptoms that are taking over your life. They also monitor your lipid levels and other markers of heart disease to ensure that your cardiovascular risk remains low. Contact the BodyLogicMD affiliated practitioner nearest you to schedule an appointment and learn more about how bioidentical hormone therapy can help reduce your hormonal symptoms and give you your life back.