Cardiovascular Disease in Women
It was thought that estrogen could protect women from cardiovascular disease. However, a recent study has found that hormone replacement therapy, or HRT (taking estrogen and a particular synthetic progesterone together), actually can increase a woman's risk for heart disease, stroke, and blood clots, as well as breast cancer. In addition, another recent study has found that taking estrogen replacement therapy, or ERT (taking estrogen only), can increase a woman's chances of developing ovarian cancer, especially if taken for 10 years or more.
If you are in menopause and taking estrogen, talk with your healthcare provider about whether estrogen is best for you and about other treatments available to help you manage your menopause symptoms and protect your cardiovascular health as you age.
You may be thinking, "But this isn't about me. I don't have cardiovascular disease." Nevertheless, you may have conditions or habits that can lead to the condition, such as being overweight, smoking cigarettes, or not getting enough physical activity. You may already know about these and other risk factors. You may know which ones you have. What you may not know, however, is that if you have even one risk factor, you are much more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and its serious consequences. A damaged cardiovascular system can hinder your life by interfering with enjoyable activities and impairing your ability to do simple things, like taking a walk or climbing steps.
Now for the good news: You have tremendous power to prevent cardiovascular disease -- and you can start today. By learning about your personal risk factors and making healthy changes in your diet, physical activity, and other daily habits, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing heart and blood vessel-related problems. Even if you are a woman who already has cardiovascular disease, you can take steps to lessen its severity.