when their ovaries quit producing estrogen and progesterone, usually between ages 45 and 55 years old. A number of adverse changes take place in their female bodies due to the loss of hormones.
Bones become thin, skin loses tone, and the body begins a metamorphosis, changing its shape and profile. Hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances with frequent nocturnal awakening can torment.
Most significant is the fact that when hormone levels decline, they no longer provide protection for the heart. Female sex hormones protect against degenerative diseases, including osteoporosis and atherosclerosis. Women's risk of cardiovascular disease rises dramatically after menopause, approaching the same high level experienced by men.
Naturally occurring estrogen have an anti-inflammatory action in the female body. So when women's hormone levels drops during menopause, they lose their advantage in the inflammation balance.
It had been assumed (yes ASSUMED) for years that Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) could reduce the risk of heart disease, which typically increases after menopause. The information coming from the research has been confusing, to say the least.
Recent studies shown that HRT raises blood levels of C-reactive protein, the marker of inflammation. And the first major long-term study of HRT was terminated in July 2002 because the risk of several disease - including heart disease - actually increased with HRT treatment. This information has not reach many simple women folks , especially in advance countries, Singapore being one of them. Wish more media would carry this news to our female friends, young and aging.
The risk of developing coronary heart disease was increased by nearly 30 percent in women taking hormones,
breast cancer risk was increased by about 25 percent,
stroke risk was increased by about 40 percent,
and the risk of blood clots in the lung more than doubled.
This was surprising news to most physicians and researchers, as well as to women and husbands across the world.
The investigators concluded that overall health risks exceeded the benefits for women using combined estrogen plus progestin HRT and that HRT should NOT be considered to be a good preventive treatment for heart disease. The women in the study were followed for an average of 5 years, but because the study was ended early, we will never know what would have happened after 10 years or twenty years. There was a trend that looked as though longer lengths of time on HRT might lead to higher rates of death, but that question will remain unanswered for now. It's important to understand that this study considered only one regimen, at one dosage, with the synthetic progestin rather than natural progesterone.
My hope is that this issue is not closed. Clearly more work , and honest reporting needed to sort out the risks and benefits, if any, of Hormone Replacement Therapy(HRT). Stay tuned, because this is an evolving area of knowledge. Stem cell therapy claim to be better and safer than HRT.
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