“Women undertaking hormonal therapy during their early post-menopausal phase tend to carry lesser rate of subclinical atherosclerosis”, say researchers from the University of Southern California, US. The study results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Subclinical atherosclerosis forms the fundamental mechanism in development of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke, etc. Several studies have noted that the perks of hormone therapy against vascular degeneration count on the timing of initiation of the intervention.
Based on this hypothesis, Howard N. Hodis and colleagues carried out Early versus Late Intervention Trial with Estradiol (ELITE) in 600 post-menopausal women with no history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Two sets of women were selected–women within 6 years of menopause (early post-menopause); and women with 10 year or more beyond menopause (late post-menopause). Each set randomly received either oral estradiol (progesterone vaginal gel in those with uterus) or placebo.
The authors reported that early post-menopausal group women taking estradiol demonstrated fewer rate of blocked arteries than those taking placebo after a median of 5 years of hormone therapy. This study is the first to imply that to achieve good prevention of atherosclerosis progression, timing of hormonal therapy initiation in post-menopausal women is crucial.