Randomized clinical trials have not shown long-term benefit of postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (PHT) nor have they shown conclusively that the harmful consequences outweighs the benefits of the treatment. Rather, it is possible that an individualized hormone replacement therapy in questionably clinically healthy postmenopausal women may lead to different results than randomized trials. Design: In this cross-sectional study we evaluated anthropometric parameters, body composition, serum lipids, blood pressure, heart rate variability (HRV) and neurocognitive functions in 39 healthy postmenopausal women PHT users or not users (n = 13, age 53.0 ± 3.3 and n = 26, age = 53.3 ± 5.0 SD, respectively) as well as in 27 younger controls (ages = 33.3 ± 7.1). Results: Demographic parameters were similar in women PHT users and not users. Postmenopausal women showed a significantly increase of body mass index (BMI) as well as of waist circumference, compared to younger controls, but in PHT users the values of fat free mass were intermediate between the ones of not treated and younger women. The study of HRV showed a reduction in low frequency (LF) component (sympathetic modulation) during the day, and a reduction in high frequency (HF) component (parasympathetic modulation), particularly in postmenopausal women without PHT. PHT users were characterized by autonomic parameters intermediate between younger controls and age-matched women without PHT. Conclusions: The impact of PHT on the age-dependent changes of anthropometric features and body composition seems to be modest but positive. Furthermore, PHT seems to play a positive role on the autonomic modulation of cardiac function, through a shift of LF / HF ratio values towards those of young controls.
- Heart rate variability
- Postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas