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Study Finds Link Between Heart Disease and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the weakening of the bones, which often occurs with age. A recent study found a link between coronary heart disease and osteoporosis, highlighting the need to evaluate a history of heart disease in the management of osteoporosis.

Participants in the study included 350 men and women between the ages of 75 and 80 who had enrolled in the Hertfordshire Cohort Study.

The researchers used a new technique called high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography to visualize multiple layers of a wrist bone. The process is similar to the way in which a 3D printer builds up different layers in order to create an object. The cross section visuals were used to assess different symptoms of osteoporosis.

The researchers found that cortical volumetric bone mineral density was lower in participants with coronary heart disease such as angina, heart attack, or heart failure. They also noted that the connection was more pronounced in women than in men. They concluded that people with a history of cardiovascular disease tend to have weaker bones than those without, and that the association needs to be further explored in order to be able to improve bone health.

Researchers from Southampton’s Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit conducted the study. It was published in the July 2015 issue of Osteoporosis International.

Risk factors for osteoporosis include aging, being female, low body weight, low sex hormones or menopause, smoking, and some medications. Previous research suggest that quitting smoking, exercising regularly, consuming alcohol moderately and eating a balanced diet with adequate calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

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