A new study published in the American Heart Association publication Circulation: Heart Failure has revealed a possible connection between osteoporosis and heart failure. Researchers studied more than 600 heart failure patients and found that 12% had compression fractures in the spine that are commonly associated with osteoporosis. Though the exact connection between bone and heart diseases would need more research to determine, researchers suggest that increased levels of aldosterone could be a contributing factor.
Health care providers often use chest x-rays as one method of looking for and identifying heart related issues like chronic heart failure. Thankfully, this very same method can be a useful tool for identifying the presence of osteoporosis. In order to determine if a patient suffering from heart failure could also be suffering from bone disease, researchers suggest a careful examination of the bones while viewing chest x-rays. In the United States, about eight million women and two million men have osteoporosis. Those over the age of 50 are at greatest risk of developing osteoporosis and suffering related fractures. In this age group, one in two women and one in six men will suffer at some point in their life.
If health care providers can identify the signs of osteoporosis, the appropriate course of treatment can be prescribed in order to avoid future fractures. Health care providers may suggest dietary alterations, an increase in daily activity and weight bearing exercise and possibly prescription medications or dietary supplements to manage osteoporosis. Although any bone is susceptible to fracture, the most common fractures occur at the spine, wrist, and hip. Spine and hip fracture particular may lead to chronic pain, long-term disability, and even death. Catching and treating bone disease in the early stages is critical for minimizing the chronic pain associated with fractures and for improving a patient’s overall quality of life.