Blood clot risk from HRT

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The Independent Online
Women on hormone replacement therapy face an increased risk of blood clots in the legs and lungs during their first year of treatment, a study reveals today. The risk is highest during the first six months when a woman using HRT is four or five times more likely to suffer clots than a non-user. This falls to a three-fold greater risk after six months. After a year, the risk to HRT users is no more than it is for non-users.

Spanish researchers studied medical records of nearly 350,000 UK women aged 50-79. The type of treatment - high or low dose, pills or patches - did not appear to make any difference to the results.

The findings by doctors from Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Barcelona, and Universidad Complutense, Madrid, were published today in the British Medical Journal.

In a separate study, researchers in Finland found that people donating blood may well be doing themselves a service, as well as helping the NHS. Analysis of 2,700 middle-aged men showed that giving blood could reduce the risk of heart attack by as much as 86 per cent. The mechanism could be the result of depletion of the body's iron reserves, say the researchers from the University of Kuopio, also writing in the British Medical Journal.

Annabel Ferriman

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