Do you need other heart tests?
In general, the answer is no. For a woman with no symptoms of heart disease (no chest pain, shortness of breath, ankle swelling), further testing is generally unnecessary. Although some doctors recommend an annual stress test, few people really need such serial exams. And definitely avoid a “screening” CT scan of the heart. These heart scans are of no proven benefit in people without symptoms; but they do expose you to a hefty dose of radiation.
What about hormone replacement therapy?
We have large studies demonstrating that hormone replacement therapy does not protect women’s hearts. In fact, it can be dangerous, and in some women actually increases the risk of heart problems.
But it does have a use. In the younger woman who is troubled by symptoms of menopause (hot flashes, night sweats), hormone replacement therapy provides relief. Most physicians agree that it is safe to employ short-term hormone replacement therapy in the woman within 10 years of menopause.
A time of change
Menopause is a time of change. Many of the changes are beyond your control. But you can secure your heart health. Check your risk factors. Stick to a heart-healthy lifestyle. Take a few simple steps, and your heart will keep on ticking for decades to come!
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