Probably -if your mother had it, if you began menopause early (at age 42 or so), or if you are small-boned and sedentary. Hormone supplements should help you.
Dr. Daniel Mishell, head of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California, says that nearly all postmenopausal women need supplemental estrogen for protection against osteoporosis. He cites 300,000 hip fractures yearly in these women at a health care cost of $6 billion, adding that 10 percent of the patients die within 6 months.
What about cancer and heart attacks? When it was found that patients receiving ERT developed cancer of the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, doctors added the hormone progesterone to reduce that risk. Progestin, the prescribed form of progesterone, seemed to reduce that cancer risk. Some scientists speculated that, when combined with estrogen, progestin also could reduce the threat of cancers of the breast and ovaries, which are estrogen-dependent. There is no proof that progestin actually can prevent cancer.
Estrogen is said to help the heart by raising the body's levels of "good" HDL cholesterol and preventing the "bad" LDL cholesterol from clogging arteries. But evidence indicates that, in some doses, progestin can increase cholesterol -a point to consider if cholesterol is a problem for you or threatens to become one.
You and your doctor must weigh the pluses and minuses for you.