The Link between Hormones and Heart Health
February is American Heart Month. This annual observance is meant to raise awareness of the risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and the importance of adopting a heart healthy lifestyle. According to 2016 statistics, heart disease remains the leading killer of men and women in the U.S.1 Research in both cases continues to link hormone deficiencies—low testosterone in men; estradiol loss in women—in combination with other risk factors to the increased risk for cardiovascular disease.2,3
Heart Disease in Postmenopausal Women
Statistics show that heart attack and stroke in women under 60 years of age are rare. According to the American Heart Association, an overall increase in heart attacks among women is seen about 10 years after menopause.4 The reason for this is thought to be the loss of the cardio-protective effects of estradiol—the estrogen that is abundant in premenopausal years, but completely missing after menopause.
What We Know about Human Estradiol, CVD and Synthetic Estrogens
Human estradiol has been extensively researched for years and found to have many positive effects on the cardiovascular system.5,6 It regulates cholesterol levels–increasing HDL and decreasing LDL and triglycerides—while at the same time playing a profound role in preventing vascular inflammation.7 Estradiol also supports artery dilatation and pliability. In this way, it protects women against atherosclerosis and blockages that lead to heart attack or stroke.
For many years physicians prescribed pharmaceutical HRT to menopausal women as a matter of course. (After all, research showed that estrogen protects against heart attack and stroke.) Then the results from two very large studies reported that the synthetic HRT most commonly prescribed to postmenopausal women in fact increased the risk of cancer, heart attack, blood clots and stroke.8,9 These outcomes were based on the use of Prempro (a combination of conjugated equine estrogen and artificial progestin – neither of which are natural to the human body).
After the evidence was made public, the studies were halted and the FDA concluded that all forms of estrogen/progesterone HRT were a potential danger to women. Drug makers were required to add black box warnings to their products listing potential side effects and health consequences, and warning that the hormones should be used sparingly and with great caution.
Bioidentical Hormones Are Key to Maintaining Heart Health
It has taken years for scientists to come to the conclusion that it was the formulations and delivery methods used in the WHI and Million Women studies that contributed to the negative outcomes. In other words, artificial hormones taken orally produced the increase in adverse health effects seen in the study participants.
These days increasing numbers of physicians and patients are opting for bioidentical hormones instead of synthetics. They are also choosing healthier delivery methods—those that deliver hormones directly into the blood stream. This allows lower doses to be used and improves the effectiveness and safety of HRT.
Studies have shown for many decades that plant-based, human-identical hormones do not display the same toxicity, health risks or side effects that non-identical formulations do.10,11 Just as a woman’s own estradiol and progesterone protect her heart, these hormones are fully capable of activating receptors in the cardiovascular system, the brain and throughout the body. Using properly administered bioidentical hormones provides the same heart-protective benefits a woman experiences prior to the hormone deficiency of menopause.
When to Start Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormonal balance is fundamental to good health. Beginning in your late 30s or early 40s, hormone production slows down and levels begin to fluctuate. You may experience issues like fatigue, depression, sleep disruption, anxiety, irritability, hot flashes, foggy thinking or other signs of imbalance. Or, you may have none of these but just feel off or out of sorts; not your usual self.
If any of this sounds familiar, it’s time to get your hormone levels tested. The sooner, the better. Hormone depletion should not be ignored. It sets the stage for a host of progressive illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Studies have shown that the greatest benefit from hormone replacement occurs prior to the onset of disease.
In specifically addressing cardiovascular disease, hormone replacement has been found to make the biggest impact for women between the ages of 50 and 60, and/or before the age of 60, and prior to the onset of damage to the cardiovascular system.
SottoPelle® BHRT Pellet Experts
SottoPelle® has specialized in BHRT using the pellet method longer than most. Our founder, Dr. Gino Tutera, developed the proprietary method that makes us a leader in our field. We have a long history of success when it comes to balancing hormones and helping people take control of their health. In fact, we are honored to say that, according to Ranking Arizona, an annual consumer publication by AZ Big Media, our patients have voted us Arizona’s #1 Hormone Therapy Clinic in 2015.
Call Us Today!
Learn more about SottoPelle® at www.sottopelletherapy.com and then give us a call at (877) 473-5538 to schedule a consultation.
2 Malkin CJ, Pugh PJ, Morris PD, Asif S, Jones TH, et al. Low serum testosterone and increased mortality in men with coronary heart disease. Heart. 2010;96:1821–5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20959649
3 Rossi R, Grimaldi T, Origliani G, Fantini G, Coppi F, Modena MG. Menopause and cardiovascular risk. Pathophysiol Haemost Thromb. 2002 Sep-Dec;32(5-6):325-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13679667
5 Xu Y, Arenas IA, Armstrong SJ, Plahta WC, Xu H, Davidge ST. Estrogen improves cardiac recovery after ischemia/reperfusion by decreasing tumor necrosis factor-a. Cardiovasc Res 2006;69:836-844. http://cardiovascres.oxfordjournals.org/content/69/4/836?ijkey=735d1a1098579ad69e1447f639b87ee6de87a1d0&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha
6 Mendelsohn ME, Karas RH. The protective effects of estrogen on the cardiovascular system. N Engl J Med 1999;340:1111-1801. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199906103402306
7 Chakrabarti S et al. Critical Review: Estrogen is a Modulator of Vascular Inflammation. IUBMB Life 2008;60(6): 376-382. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/iub.48/pdf
9 Million Women Study Collaborators ( 2003) Breast cancer and hormone-replacement therapy in the Million Women Study. Lancet, 362, 419–427. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12927427
10 Moskowitz D. A Comprehensive Review of the Safety and Efficacy of Bioidentical Hormones for the Management of Menopause and Related Health Risks. Altern Med Rev 2006;11(3):208-223. https://www.hoffmancentre.com/assets/files/pdf/articles/A_Comprehensive_Review_of_the_Safety_and_Efficacy_of_Bioidentical_Hormones.pdf
11 Schwartz E, Holtorf K. Hormones in wellness and disease prevention: common practices, current state of the evidence, and questions for the future. Prim Care Clin Office Pract 2008; 35 (4): 669–705. http://www.holtorfmed.com/pdf/04-Hormones-in-Wellness.pdf