Hormone Replacement Therapy Reported to Increase Blood Pressure

(Examiner.com) — According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, older women have a higher risk of high blood pressure, with more than half of all women over the age of 55 suffering from this condition. According to a new study, a contributing factor may be hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Australian researchers released the results of a large study addressing this issue online on July 11 in the journal PLoS One.

The study authors noted that a relationship HRT in menopausal women and cardiovascular risk remains controversial. A number of studies have advocated the use of HRT in reducing risk of cardiovascular diseases; however, others have reported that it increases the risk. In view of this controversy, the researchers designed a study was to determine the association between menopausal hormone therapy and high blood pressure.

The study group was comprised of 43,405 postmenopausal women. The baseline data for these women was derived from the 45 and Up Study, Australia, which was a large scale study of healthy ageing. All women were postmenopausal, had an intact uterus, and had not been diagnosed with high blood pressure prior to the menopause. The researchers found that the use of HRT was associated with higher odds of having high blood pressure. Furthermore, a longer duration of HRT use was associated with higher odds of having high blood pressure, with the effect of hormone therapy use diminishing with increasing age. Of the 12,443 women who had used HRT (past or current), 20% self-reported having high blood pressure compared with 17% of the 30 962 women who had never used it. After adjusting for demographic and lifestyle factors, odds ratios for the association between HRT use and hypertension was 1.59 for those less than 56 years, 1.58 for those aged 56–61 years, and 1.26 for those aged 62–70 years. Women who had used HRT at any time were first diagnosed with hypertension 2.8 years earlier than women who had never used it.

The authors concluded that menopausal hormone therapy use is associated with significantly higher odds of having high blood pressure, and the odds increase with increased duration of use. They noted that high blood pressure should be conveyed as a health risk for women considering HRT. They cautioned that an association between HRT and high blood pressure existed; thus, HRT did not necessarily cause high blood pressure.


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