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13-09-2009 | Bone health | Article

Osteoporosis patients at risk for atherosclerosis


Free abstract

MedWire News: Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis should be examined for coronary atherosclerosis, say Korean researchers who found that arterial stiffness is negatively associated with femur bone mineral density (BMD).

The team, led by Byung Seok Lee (Yongdong Severace Hospial, Seoul), suggests that osteoporosis could be a risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD) as coronary atherosclerosis was significantly more common in osteoporotic patients than women with osteopenia or normal BMD (16.12% vs 8.13% and 0.00%, respectively).

For the study, postmenopausal women undergoing a routine check-up were examined for lumbar spine and femur BMD, arterial stiffness as measured by brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), and coronary atherosclerosis as measured by computed tomography.

Analysis showed that BMD was negatively associated with baPWV, and that osteoporotic patients had significantly higher baPWV measurements than women with osteopenia or normal BMD (1477 vs 1365 and 1319 cm/s, respectively).

Furthermore, baPWV was negatively associated with femur BMD, as well as positively associated with age, systolic, and diastolic blood pressure, and neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio.

Finally, using a baPWV cutoff of 1506 cm/s predicted a diagnosis of coronary atherosclerosis with 83.3% sensitivity and 82.9% specificity.

The team note that the link between osteoporosis and coronary atherosclerosis may be explained by common etiologic factors such as aging and estrogen deficiency, and risk factors for coronary artery disease commonly found in osteoporosis patients such as hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and drug treatment.

They add that bone-related proteins are also common in atherosclerotic arteries and several genes are linked to both arterial calcification and osteoporosis, all of which are evidence of “common pathophysiology.”

The results of this research are published in the journal Menopause.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a part of Springer Science+Business Media. © Current Medicine Group Ltd; 2009

By Lynda Williams

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