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Review
. 2007 Feb;10 Suppl 1:19-24.
doi: 10.1080/13697130601114917.

Menopause and Cardiovascular Disease: The Evidence

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Review

Menopause and Cardiovascular Disease: The Evidence

G M C Rosano et al. Climacteric. .

Abstract

Menopause is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) because estrogen withdrawal has a detrimental effect on cardiovascular function and metabolism. The menopause compounds many traditional CVD risk factors, including changes in body fat distribution from a gynoid to an android pattern, reduced glucose tolerance, abnormal plasma lipids, increased blood pressure, increased sympathetic tone, endothelial dysfunction and vascular inflammation. Many CVD risk factors have different impacts in men and women. In postmenopausal women, treatment of arterial hypertension and glucose intolerance should be priorities. Observational studies and randomized clinical trials suggest that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) started soon after the menopause may confer cardiovascular benefit. In contrast to other synthetic progestogens used in continuous combined HRTs, the unique progestogen drospirenone has antialdosterone properties. Drospirenone can therefore counteract the water- and sodium-retaining effects of the estrogen component of HRT via the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, which may otherwise result in weight gain and raised blood pressure. As a continuous combined HRT with 17beta-estradiol, drospirenone has been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure in postmenopausal women with elevated blood pressure, but not in normotensive women. Therefore, in addition to relieving climacteric symptoms, drospirenone/17beta-estradiol may offer further benefits in postmenopausal women, such as improved CVD risk profile.

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