According to the results of a recent study, women who use than women who do not use hormone therapy. The hormones may cause lower levels of atherosclerosis, a condition where plaque builds up in the arteries of the heart.
There has been much debate over the use of hormone replacement therapy and whether or not the health risks outweigh the benefits. There have been studies which have concluded that hormone therapy can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, while other studies have suggested that hormone therapy may be linked to an increased risk of cancer and stroke.
These potential risks have led to an overwhelming decrease in the number of women who use hormone replacement therapy.
The study was conducted by researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 66th Annual Scientific Session.
Researchers analyzed health records of approximately 4,200 women who had undergone coronary calcium scans between the years 1998 through 2012. All scans were conducted at Cedars-Sinai. These scans measure the amount of calcium which is present in the arteries of the heart.
If there are higher levels of calcium present, that can be an indicator that there has been a buildup of plaque. This plaque buildup increases a person’s risk of heart attack or stroke.
The breakdown of data researchers used was as follows:
- The highest number of women using hormone replacement therapy occurred between 1998 through 2002, when more than 60 percent of the women were on hormones. That number began dropping and reached its lowest number in 2012, with only 23 percent of women on hormone replacement therapy.
- Overall, 41 percent of the total number of women who had undergone scans were taking hormones at the time of the scan.
- The average age of the women using hormones was 64, while the average age of women not using hormones was 60.
- Six percent of the women had died within the average eight-year follow-up period.
The study team accounted for factors such as age, as well as coronary calcium scores, and any cardiovascular risks. These risks included diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
The result was that women who were not on hormone replacement therapy had a 30 percent increased risk of dying than women who were on hormones. Women who were on hormones were also more likely to have lower coronary calcium scores.
After hearing the results of the study, Dr. Edward Jacobson commented, “Unlike other studies which have scared women away from hormone therapy and its benefits, this study emphasizes the possible significant impact this therapy can have on women.”