A Review of the Epidemiology of Postmenopausal Estrogens and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease
Cardiovascular diseases, especially coronary heart disease, remain the leading cause of death in women. The rates are relatively low among premenopausal women, but rise sharply with age. Moreover, the ratio of rates between men and women grows smaller with increasing age (US Department of Health and Human Services 1988). This observation led to speculation that functioning ovaries in premenopausal women were protective. Although the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) does not abruptly rise at the moment of natural menopause (Colditz et al. 1987; Stampfer et al. 1989), rates of heart disease increase substantially during the period of the climacteric. The increased risk of CHD among young women with bilateral oophorectomy (Stampfer et al. 1989) further supported the view that estrogens play an important role in reducing the risk of CHD in premenopausal women and that estrogen replacement therapy after menopause might decrease the risk.
KeywordsCoronary Heart Disease Risk Estrogen Replacement Therapy Myocardial Infarc Coronary Risk Factor Summary Relative Risk
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