Menopause, Hormones and Heart Health
Recent studies show that women are experiencing menopause at much earlier ages than expected. By age 40, most women are totally depleted of normal levels of estrogen and have lost nearly all their progesterone and more than half of their testosterone. The average woman can expect her periods to stop when she is just 46.
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading killer of women. Research indicates a correlation between declining estrogen levels during menopause and an increase in the risk for cardiovascular problems. Women who have gone through menopause are two to three times more likely to develop heart disease.
Estrogen is shown to support the blood vessels. Results from a 1991 study indicated that after 15 years of estrogen replacement, risk of death by cardiovascular disease was reduced by almost 50 percent and overall deaths were reduced by 40 percent.
At the same time, testosterone supports the cardiovascular system in women as well as men.
While hormone therapy can help protect the heart health of menopausal and aging women, the key to effective treatment lies in the type of hormone and administration method.
Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) uses natural, plant-derived compounds that precisely match the same molecular structure as human hormones – unlike traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which is synthetic, or pharmaceutical. Bioidentical hormones are better assimilated by the body without the dangerous side effects associated with synthetic type – including heart disease.
Research demonstrates that hormone pellets – about the size of a grain of rice and slipped under the skin – provide the most effective hormone delivery method since the hormone release is monitored naturally by the heart rate. When prescribed and properly administered, BHRT pellets can support heart health and offer relief for menopausal symptoms.
Numerous studies* cite the potential benefits of bioidentical estrogen and testosterone pellets to:
• reduce harmful LDL and total cholesterol
• increase protective HDL
• decrease triglycerides
• assist in retaining the ability of the coronary arteries to dilate and remain pliable
Evidence from a 2013 study by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports the “timing hypothesis,” which shows that women in the early stages of menopause are more likely to experience additional cardiovascular benefits from HRT treatment than women who have been menopausal for 10 or more years.
Another study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that 32 percent of heart attacks and cardiac deaths were reduced in women age 60 or younger who had received bio-identical hormone treatment.
We recommend that women start checking their hormone levels with a simple blood test around ages 35-40 to correct hormonal imbalances. This can help to protect their hearts and avoid many unpleasant health problems that occur during menopause, such as thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, depression, breast cancer, brain fog and fibromyalgia. Bioidentical hormones, taken in early menopause, may actually help prevent coronary heart disease and many of these issues.
*Menopause, Susan Davis, 2000; Obstetrics & Gynecology, Notelovitz, 1987