MEDICAL MINUTE -- A new analysis from landmark government studies finds that a woman's age may influence her risk when taking estrogen hormone pills. The women's health initiative studies included more than 27,000 women aged 50 to 79 years. Doctors re-analyzed the study results to see if the health risks changed across different age groups. They found that risk of stroke remained elevated for all women. But women who started the estrogen pills within 10 years of menopause had an estimated 24 per cent reduced risk of heart disease, although this difference did not reach statistical significance. Younger women aged 50 to 59 also had an overall risk of death compared with older women taking hormones. This is potentially good news because younger women typically take hormone pills to reduce hot flashes and other symptoms of early menopause. Overall, there were too few young women in these studies to settle the risks once and for all, so there is new research underway that specifically looks at hormone use in younger women. Until then, women should talk with their doctors about their individual risks before starting any hormone therapies.
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