Is Age the Key to Contradictory Hormone and Heart
AWOMAN’S RISK from taking menopause hormones
may depend on the age she starts taking them, according
to an ongoing review of the two largest hormone studies.
Data from one of the studies, the Women’s Health
Initiative (WHI), linked estrogen-progestin pills such as
Prempro to increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and breast
cancer. So high were the risks, in fact, that the government
study was halted two years ago, and many women were
scared off hormone therapy altogether. (Subsequent analysis
also found risk from estrogen-only pills such as Premarin.)
But an earlier, 2000 analysis of data from the Nurses
Health Study (NHS), another hormone test, had found seemingly
contradictory results: Subjects who took hormones
were 40 percent less likely to suffer heart attacks.