After several years without estrogen, the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease is increased. Estrogen provides the most protection when started within 10 years of menopause. Early stages of these serious diseases usually have NO symptoms. So in essence, there are more risks from NOT taking estrogen than from taking it! If you and your physician are in agreement about taking HRT, it’s important to not cheat yourself of the potential benefits of estrogen.