The long-standing practice of prescribing hormones to postmenopausal women was based in part on the observation that following menopause, women's incidence of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, and cerebral vascular accident increased. Recent large-scale research has shown an increase in cardiovascular events for postmenopausal women receiving estrogen replacement in oral form. This article examines research on positive effects of hormone replacement therapy, discusses what is known about the development of cardiovascular disease in women, and evaluates recent research that has shown increased cardiovascular risk in women receiving hormone replacement. It concludes with recommendations for preventing cardiovascular disease in women. This is essential information for nurses, who need to be informed of ways to maintain their own health while serving as sources of health information for the public at large.