Menopause and hormone replacement therapy in the 21st century

There continues to be controversy regarding the use of menopausal therapy for women, with considerable evidence supporting the benefits of oestrogen for women,1 but with recent guidelines from the American Heart Association stating that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and selective oestrogen-receptor modulators should not be used for the primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular (CV) disease (CVD).2 Nevertheless, there is substantial data to support that premature menopause is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and CVD events.3 The reason for this, however, remains uncertain, including the adverse effects of earlier loss of oestrogen on CHD risk factors or loss of other beneficial effects of oestrogen on the CV system.

In their Heart paper, O’Keeffe and colleagues4 use data from the large United Kingdom Medical Research Counsel National Survey of Health and Development to examine the association between age…

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