Research in monkeys suggests that the type of progestin in hormone therapy could dramatically affect heart attack severity. The study, by a Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center researcher and colleagues, was reported today at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society in Washington, D.C.
"One type of hormone therapy limited heart muscle damage to only 5 percent while another resulted in permanent damage to 35 percent of muscle," said J. Koudy Williams, Ph.D., lead investigator, from Wake Forest Baptist. "If we can learn more about this mechanism we might be able to identify better hormone therapies for postmenopausal women."
For years, hormone therapy was prescribed as a way to prevent heart vessel disease in women. But then several research studies, including the Womens Health Initiative, showed that combination therapy (estrogen plus progestin) increased the risk of both a first and second heart attack in older women. "These studies didnt look at the amount of heart damage that occurs if a postmenopausal woman has a heart attack," said Williams. "This is important to know because even though the drugs are no longer recommended to prevent heart disease, many women take them for menopausal symptoms or to protect their bones."
Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
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