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New analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) confirm that combination hormone therapy increases the risk of heart disease in healthy postmenopausal women. Researchers report a trend toward an increased risk of heart disease during the first two years of hormone therapy among women who began therapy within 10 years of menopause, and a more marked elevation of risk among women who began hormone therapy more than 10 years after menopause. Analyses indicate that overall a woman’s risk of heart disease more than doubles within the first two years of taking combination HT.
The difference in the initial level of risk does not appear related to age, based on findings that the increased risk of heart disease was similar between women in their 50s on combination hormone therapy and women in their 60s.
The study is in the Feb. 16, 2010, Annals of Internal Medicine. The WHI is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).