Combating the negative effects of aging is the constant focus of everyone at long-term care facilities like the Amsterdam Cares for Rehabilitation and Nursing, so we try to always remain abreast of new theories and advancements in the areas of anti-aging and gerontology. One of the major considerations in the anti-aging field in the mid-1990s and early 2000s was the idea of hormone replacement therapy in an attempt to slow or eliminate some common negative effects of natural aging. Since its conception, this approach has met with mixed results of which we should all be aware.

Predominantly used in women to counteract the severity of menopause symptoms, hormone replacement therapy using progesterone and estrogen has also been used to aid in preventing osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. However, in the early 2000s, two major studies by the Women’s Health Initiative found increases in the occurrence of endometrial, breast, and ovarian cancers in women who had undergone this type of hormone replacement therapy. Predictably, the popularity of these treatments waned. More recent critics of the studies, however, have pointed out that the results of the studies were less conclusive than presented and that a combination therapy of progesterone and estrogen was only linked to one extra case of breast cancer, for instance, in one thousand.

Currently, the balance of benefit versus risk for hormone replacement therapy is still not completely clear, and further investigation is necessary. There is significant evidence to support the claims that hormone replacement therapy may improve muscle function, heart health, and skin aging, as well as potentially lowering mortality in younger, postmenopausal women. It is currently officially approved for treating severe symptoms of menopause and for treating or preventing osteoporosis. There are indications, however, that it may not be suitable for women who have a history of: strokes; heart disease; endometrial, breast, or ovarian cancer, thrombosis, migraines, or high blood pressure. Always discuss your particular medical history and conditions with your doctor when considering the possibility of hormone replacement therapy.

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