NHLBI’s Women’s Health Initiative study for Menopause

Event Rates reported by Women's Health Initiative study.

Women’s Health Initiative or WHI was a long-term research program on the health of postmenopausal women. Before this attempt, several studies were conducted on the field of Hormone Replacement therapy.  But none of them had such a great impact like this project.

A Brief Description on Women’s Health Initiative Program

Being initiated in the year of 1991, the intention of this long-term research was to find out the most effective strategies to prevent heart problem, osteoporosis, colorectal cancer and breast cancer for the women who are passing or have passed through menopausal phase. This multi-million dollar project was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and was distributed over a span of 15 long years.

The study was conducted on 161,808 women of the age group 50-79. It is one of the most renowned clinical research studies ever organized in United States, which was conducted across the nation at 40 clinical centers. The research was launched by the then director of NIH, Dr. Bernadine Healy.

The WHI study was divided into 3 parts. The first part was actually a clinical trial with random selection, whereas the second part was related to the observational study. The final part of the study was meant for a community preventive study.

The clinical trial part was conducted on a group of 68,132 women and it was divided into 3 components – Hormone Therapy, Dietary Modification and Calcium/Vitamin D. The participant could enroll into any one or more components.

  • The component Hormone Therapy dealt with the effect of Hormone Replacement among the participants in preventing osteoporosis, breast cancer and heart problem.
  • The next component Dietary Modification was related to the effect of low-fat diet in preventing heart disease, breast cancer and colorectal cancer. The low-fat diet included a whole lot of fruits, grains and vegetables.
  • The final component Calcium/Vitamin D was conducted to study the effect of calcium and vitamin D supplements to prevent osteoporosis and colorectal cancer.

The study of Women’s Health Initiative led to significant findings related to Hormone Replacement therapy for postmenopausal women. It also developed the base for further studies and research on this subject.

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