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Severe Menopause Symptoms Raise Heart Risks
Date:3/14/2008

he take-home point from this study for the general population, according to Steinbaum, is to pay close attention to improvement in lifestyle habits before menopause and before estrogen levels decline. "One of the things I talk about is lifestyle management to control high blood pressure, high cholesterol," she explained.

If women keep in check the risk factors of heart disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, by eating healthfully and exercising often before menopause, the transition "doesn't have to be as terrible" as many women fear it will be.

Among her suggestions: Exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes three to five days a week, and eat a diet filled with fiber, vegetables, fruits, multi-grains, legumes and omega-3 fatty acids.

In a second study, also scheduled to be presented Friday at the conference, French researchers found the type of hormone delivery method affects the risk of blood clots in postmenopausal women.

Researchers from Paul Brousse Hospital in Villejuif, France, compared women who did not use hormones with those who used estrogen, taking it either orally or transdermally with a patch. Some women took only estrogen, others took estrogen plus progesterone, pregnane, norpregnane or nortestosterone.

The researchers found that transdermal estrogen alone or in combination with progesterone or pregnane derivatives did not raise the risk for blood clots, while other delivery systems did.

They looked at a population of nearly 86,000 French women -- including 984 with blood clots -- who were followed for more than 10 years.

"This [study] is one more piece of the puzzle," said Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. When women take hormones orally, she said, the metabolism involves much more processing through the liver, for instance.

While the study concluded that the patch delivery is less risky when it comes to b
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