Bone Loss Linked to Hardening Arteries

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

Postmenopausal women have another good reason to do everything they can to help maintain healthy bone density – the failure to do so is now linked to an increase in plaque in the carotid artery1.  This relationship existed independent of a woman’s LDL cholesterol levels.  The researchers found that if a woman’s lumbar spine had lost bone density then plaque accumulation in arteries was consistent with the amount of bone loss.

This means that bone loss is now an independent risk factor for heart disease.  When estrogen levels drop at menopause bones take an “inflammatory hit.”  Consequent bone loss for the next five years depends on the extent of inflammatory damage, which depends on the underlying health of the individual.  Women who enter menopause in a fatigued, stressed, or worn down condition – especially if there are other health problems, are invariably at risk for the most bone loss during this time. 

Factors involved with bone inflammation are also cardiovascular stressful, leading to cardiovascular wear and tear.  This new study indicates that these processes directly contribute to hardening of the arteries and heart disease, regardless of how well other heart-related risk factors are managed.  It means that to be healthy after menopause a woman must have adequate bone nutrition, manage stress, stay fit, and nip any health problems in the bud.

Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Bone Loss Associated with Plaque Accumulation  Hypertens Res.  Sumino H, Ichikawa S, Kasama S, Takahashi T, Sakamoto H, Kumakura H, Takayama Y, Kanda T, Murakami M, Kurabayashi M.

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