Posts Tagged ‘bio -identical hormones’

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Hot Flash or Heart Attack?

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States and that more women than men die from heart disease each year?  You may not know that it is also a leading cause of disability among women.   How can this be?  Typically thought of as a male disease, the information has come out that heart disease is an equal opportunist as it claims its title of being the number one dis-ease that Americans die from.

The symptoms can be a bit different for women than the typical chest grabbing scenario the TV gives us of heart attacks.

The most common heart attack symptoms in women are some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. Though it’s not always severe or even the most prominent symptom, particularly in women. Women are more likely to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain.  PULSE, a great acronym should be thought of to discern between hot flash and heart attack.

Persistent chest pain-can include neck, shoulder & upper back
Upset stomach, Nausea, Vomiting
Light headedness, dizziness
Shortness of breath
Excessive sweating

As you can see these are rather vague symptoms and could be a lot of different issues. New symptoms, not your usual, are more immediate concern (though, all of these are not normal, and should be checked out by your friendly Naturopathic physician).

The general players are present here as well: high cholesterol, inflammation, hypertension and obesity. Still other factors play a bigger role for women; metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, diabetes/ high blood sugar issues, and high triglycerides) and smoking pose bigger issues for women. Low levels of estrogen after menopause pose a significant risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease in the smaller blood vessels, suggesting beneficial effects of female hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Estrogen is thought to play a role in boosting the levels of good cholesterol or HDL. It is also believed to keep blood vessel walls relaxed, thus reducing blood pressure.  The women’s health initiative (WHI) hormone therapy was associated with no increased risk of stroke and no reduction in the risk of heart disease. Perhaps more a piece that the hormones studied were synthetic?  This research also showed an increase of blood clots (shows importance of blood viscosity testing) and invasive breast cancer. This raises big questions about synthetic hormones verses bioidentical hormones. And perhaps the time of dosing is also a question with regards to the study set, mostly women in their 60’s (at least a decade into menopause, without any support since menopause).  I’ll save that discussion for another time

For those women in your life (or for you reading this) we know you are busy and time is precious. Please take the time for you and get a checkup.  And don’t pass up my offer for a complimentary consult to discuss your particular concerns and see if what we do may be of benefit for you.

Dr. Eckel

PS -
Actually, one  big piece of the WHI criticism is that the population studied were all over 60 when started on HRT –their cardiac and stroke risks well established -and had been postmenopausal for years before they were given hormone therapy.  So any protective effect of the hormones had been discontinued for years, then suddenly the system was flooded with estrogen/progesterone via HRT… so the issue may not really be about the results from WHI but what protective effects do these hormones have in reducing risk long-term when continued through the immediate menopausal/post menopausal time frame?  Just my point my view, but the issue of bioidentical/identical is less the issue than WHEN adjunct hormone therapy is used, the dosages and in what combination b/c estrogen alone is a huge risk for increased morbidity, whether it’s bioidentical or not…

Photo courtesy of  epSos.de  some rights reserved

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Posted in Articles by our Doctors, Dr. Greg Eckel, General | Comments Off

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