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The effect of hormone replacement therapy on arterial blood pressure and vascular compliance in postmenopausal women with arterial hypertension


Arterial pathology is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease, morbidity and mortality. Women are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease after menopause. Arterial stiffness determined by pulse wave velocity, increases with age both in men and women, whereas arterial compliance in premenopausal women is greater than in men of similar age. This difference is lost in the postmenopausal years, with evidence of rapid decline in arterial compliance in the perimenopausal period. Loss of hormonal modulation is a likely explanation for reduced arterial compliance in postmenopausal women. Long-term treatment with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be expected to partially reverse the increase in arterial stiffness. The aim of the study was to analyse the effect of HRT on blood pressure and arterial compliance in postmenopausal women with arterial hypertension receiving hypotensive drugs. The results in the present study of postmenopausal women with mild to moderate arterial hypertension receiving HRT showed only a transient tendency towards lower blood pressure. In our study HRT was found to improve arterial compliance at 3 months after HRT, and the effect was maintained throughout 12 months. The increased arterial compliance in women receiving HRT was independent of blood pressure. In parallel with decreasing pulse wave velocity women receiving HRT had lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The conclusions were that after 1 year HRT in postmenopausal women with arterial hypertension improves circadian blood pressure pattern, but it does not affect significantly blood pressure values and variability. The present study also shows that HRT significantly inhibits age-related rigidity of large arteries.

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Correspondence to K Kawecka-Jaszcz.

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Kawecka-Jaszcz, K., Czarnecka, D., Olszanecka, A. et al. The effect of hormone replacement therapy on arterial blood pressure and vascular compliance in postmenopausal women with arterial hypertension. J Hum Hypertens 16, 509–516 (2002).

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  • HRT
  • arterial compliance
  • menopause

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