With aging arrives a boatload of health problems if your body lacks vital nutrients and minerals. Research suggests thinning of bones elevates the risk of heart attack and stroke. The findings, published in the journal Heart, throw light on how thin and brittle bones correlate with the risk of myocardial infarction and other cardiovascular diseases in women. More precisely, brittle lower spine, top of the thigh bone, and hip are strongly linked with the risk of a heart attack in women.
Bone Health Decides Vasculature Health
Thinning of bones, the process of osteoporosis, often begins after the women reach menopause. The characteristics of osteoporosis include thin, brittle bones and an increased risk of fracture.
It is evident from previous research that the hardening and narrowing of the arteries often occur in patients with osteoporosis. Thus, suggesting that osteoporosis and atherosclerosis may have some link.
Women have a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than men. A study shows that the risk of cardiovascular death in women is about 21% and about 15% in men.
Around the globe, millions of women are diagnosed with osteoporosis utilizing the DXA scan. Therefore, a DXA scan may help determine whether there is an association between osteoporosis and atherosclerosis. Researchers suggest that screening osteoporosis may prove fruitful for detecting women at risk of a heart attack without exposing them to further radiation.
To examine this, researchers analyzed the medical record of women who have undergone DXA scans for screening of osteoporosis. These women belong to the age group of 50-80 years. This research took place between 2005 and 2014 at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital.
The researchers excluded women having heart disease or other chronic illnesses at the time of the scan. Out of the 12,681 women analyzed, 4% of women had a stroke or heart attack during the inspection period, and about 2% of women died. Women health remained under examination for nine years with the help of national registry data.
Factors Triggering Heart Attack
Brittle bones indicate a low bone mineral density at the femoral neck, hip, and lumbar spine. The decreased bone mineral density score indicates an inclined risk of heart attack or stroke. The weakening of bones elevated the risk of heart attack up to 16% to 38%.
In addition to the low bone density mineral value, other factors that affect the incidence of heart attack are age, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, cigarette smoking, and previous bone fractures.
With the diagnosis of osteoporosis, the risk of abnormal cardiovascular events increases to 79%.
The clinical risk factors alone are not of much importance for detecting the risk of a heart attack. By adding the bone mineral density profile of the subject or the diagnosis of osteoporosis, the risk of heart attack can be determined more effectively.
Digging Into Research
According to the researchers, the exact relation between osteoporosis and atherosclerosis is not known; however, both of these diseases are highly influenced by oxidative stress and inflammations. Sex hormones, particularly estrogen, play a role in the regulation of bone turnover and the cardiovascular system.
This observational study has many limitations; for instance, women from only one medical center of South Korea were examined, which restricts the application of the results to South Korea only. Another limitation is the investigation of physical activity level and steroid use of the subjects.
The researchers concluded that the significant link between bone health and the vasculature system gives us the privilege for risk assessment in women, keeping it cheap and reduced radiation exposure.
Drs Dexter Canoy and Kazem Rahimi agree with the research emphasizing further research in different settings. Moreover, they suggest that working on the association between osteoporosis and atherosclerosis may end up in the discovery of innovative and improved treatment regimens.