If you're taking hormone replacement you may endanger your heart.
"When some women go through menopause, their risks for heart disease increase. You need to know who that's true of and what the risks are, how it affects blood pressure, cholesterol and the heart. A new clinic right here in town, at Cedars Sinai, can help you weigh risks and benefits of hormone therapy," Dr. Bruce Hensel reported.
Shirley Moss has been taking hormones for 30 years. Like many women, she says they control her severe hot flashes.
"Its like you can be sitting down and then all of a sudden, it like just heat just hits your face, all of a sudden," Moss said.
Although the hormones help, there's a problem. Recent studies show the treatment can put some women with heart disease at great risk.
"Giving estrogen therapy could destabilize the plaque or what's already there, and therefore they could cause further worsening of the plaque," according Dr. Crisandra Shufelt, Assistant Director of thte Women's Heart Center at Cedars Sinai.
Shirley knew about the risk but still decided to use the hormones.
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"They have always told me, the side effects and what could happen and I knew that. I said I understand, but I need that pill. I tried to cold turkey on my own, but it didn't work," Moss said.
Then... she had a heart attack.
"I felt just a little something. Then my arm. And I told this friend if I break out into a sweat, I'm having a heart attack, and as soon as I said that, I had chest pains," Moss said.
Now she's trying to get off of the hormones once and for all with the help of a new heart clinic that helps manage menopause and heart disease at the same time.
"We go through a thorough cardiac assessment, we do specialized imaging, as well as personalized menopause symptoms
management," Dr. Shufelt said.
Shirley is going to be weaned off of the hormones... with the help of doctors
"We're going to try to step down slowly so that her hot flashes will not return," Dr. Shufelt said.
Shirley is fully on board, "It's gonna be better for my health, I really believe that," she said.
"There are alternatives for hot flashes,and many women find symptoms decrease over time. Let's be clear. Hormones are safe for some women; ask your doctor if theyre safe for you. Weigh the benefits of treating symptoms against potential dangers," Dr. Hensel said.