(HealthDay News) — Women who start hormone therapy toward the beginning of menopause may have a lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, new research suggests. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society, held from September 30 to October 3 in Las Vegas.

Researchers led by German Carrasquilla, MD, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, combined the results of five Swedish studies. The studies began between 1991–2006. They had information on 74,352 women who were followed for up to 23 years.

During that period, 4,714 women developed or died from coronary heart disease. But compared with women who’d never used hormone therapy, those who’d begun it within five years of their first menopause symptoms remained free of coronary heart disease longer – 1.3 years, on average. That advantage was seen even when the researchers accounted for other major factors such as age, education level, smoking habits, weight, and hypertension.

Carrasquilla told HealthDay that animal research has shown that early hormone therapy helps prevent the buildup of plaques, while delayed therapy does not.

Abstract No. S-17
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