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Quest for better treatment for effects of menopause
Date:5/28/2008

This release is available in Spanish.

During menopause, lack of oestrogens increases the risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases. For her doctoral thesis, University of the Basque Country researcher, Ainhoa Ruiz del Agua, studied the effects of substitute treatments and the genetic factors influencing the response to these therapies.

Menopause is a natural period in the ageing process of a woman. On ceasing the ovary function, the body gradually stops producing eggs and female sex hormones (amongst these being oestrogen and progesterone), responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle. Lack of oestrogens increases the risk of very important diseases with respect to premenopause, amongst these being osteoporosis and illnesses related to the cardiovascular system. Amongst these heart diseases atherosclerosis is the most important, being an illness characterised by the presence of plaques full of lipids (fats) along the walls of the arteries, and which restricts the blood flow, causing high blood pressure. If these plaques break, the result is a thrombosis that can block the artery, causing, amongst other things, heart attack.

To slow down the natural drop in oestrogen level and thus prevent associated problems, substitutive hormonal therapies are prescribed during the menopause, either orally or subcutaneously (with patches), as well as by treatments based on substances that modulate the oestrogen receptor, amongst these being raloxifene. However, the effects of these therapies are disputed, given that there are no definitive conclusions about their usefulness: research carried out to date shows their efficacy in preventing osteoporosis, but it has not been clarified if they are capable of reducing the risk of contracting heart disease. Moreover, the response amongst different women to the same treatment can vary according to environmenta
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Contact: Alaitz Ochoa de Eribe
alaitzo@elhuyar.com
34-688-673-679
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert

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