Estrogen Risks May Boost Asthma Risk

In addition to the wide array of dangerous and, in many cases, life-threatening diseases, linked to <"">hormone replacement therapy (HRT), an emerging study has revealed a link with estrogen-only HRT and asthma, said Reuters.

According to the scientists, the risk increase is seen after menopause and the study involved nearly 58,000 women over a 12-year period, said Reuters, noting that the researchers in France and Mexico compared the women on HRT to those who were never on hormone therapy. Compared to those women who never received HRT, the women who did use HRT experienced a 21 percent increase for asthma; the risk was even more pronounced in women on estrogen-only therapy, at an increased rate of 54 percent, said Reuters.

The scientists were from the Gustave Roussy Institute in France and the Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica in Mexico. The study appears in the British Medical Journal’s Thorax publication, said Reuters. “There is now a large body of evidence suggesting a link between female hormones, including the use of HRT, the development of asthma and its severity,” Leanne Metcalf, director of research at the advocacy group Asthma UK, said in a commentary on the study, quoted Reuters.

According to experts, the likelihood of young women developing asthma increases with the onset of menstruation; also asthma-related hospital admissions are more prevalent in women versus men, said Reuters. Asthma severity tends to vary throughout the menstrual cycle and during pregnancy, and increases in incidence in post-menopausal woman, explained Reuters.

We’ve been following health issues related to HRT and recently wrote that, according to an earlier Reuters piece, women who experience breast tenderness following HRT also experience a nearly two-fold risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, versus women on HRT, but without the tenderness, according to researchers. In that research, which looked at over 16,000 women who took estrogen-plus-progestin as part of the widely publicized Women’s Health Initiative, or WHI study, were taking either Wyeth’s <"">Premarin or <"">Prempro.

The WHI was initiated in 1991 and stopped in 2002 after, said Reuters, researchers discovered that healthy women in menopause and on HRT were likelier to develop breast cancer. Since, an array of adverse effects has been associated with HRT.

Previously, we wrote that WebMD reported that HRT has been linked to an increased risk of women dying from lung cancer and pointed out that women on combined HRT also exhibited increased risks for heart disease and stroke, breast cancer, and other adverse health events.

We have also written that while HRT has long been linked to female cancers and fatal blood clots, another study concluded that women on HRT might be doubling their skin cancer risks. And, yet another study revealed a connection with how HRT shrinks the brain. In addition to an increased risk of stroke and cerebrovascular disease in post-menopausal women on HRT, the WHI Memory Study found that post-menopausal women on HRT suffered from a higher risk of dementia and memory problems.

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