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Joint Bone Spine. 2006 Dec;73(6):661-6. Epub 2006 Sep 5.

Postmenopausal osteoporosis and atheroma.

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Service de rhumatologie, fondation hôpital Saint-Joseph, 185, rue Raymond-Losserand, 75674 Paris cedex 14, France.


Epidemiological studies have established a significant association between two major health problems, osteoporosis and atheroma, which is independent from age, gender, and other cardiovascular risk factors. Bone loss and the development of calcific deposits within vessel walls occur concomitantly. Proteins formerly thought to be specific of bone have been identified in atheroma lesions; and associations linking vertebral and proximal femoral fractures to aortic calcifications have been reported. Bone loss may be a marker for the risk of stroke and cardiovascular death. Bone loss may occur as a consequence of ischemia related to vascular disease. Despite numerous published studies, the mechanism underlying the osteoporosis-atheroma association remains controversial. Factors that perpetuate the debate include the often retrospective design of the studies, small sample sizes, and known limitations of absorptiometry as a tool for measuring osteoporosis severity. We reviewed the available clinical, epidemiological, and animal data on the mechanisms underlying the association between osteoporosis and atheroma. The possible effect of osteoporosis medications on the blood vessel wall is discussed. These issues remain a matter of debate, indicating a need for vast prospective studies to look for a causal link between osteoporosis and atheroma. The results of these studies may lead to new treatment strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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