Australian study has found that high blood pressure is a risk factor for osteoporosis.
A connection between hypertension and increased fracture risk has been suggested in the past, but the interplay with bone mineral density (BMD) was never clear. Now an Australian study has found that high blood pressure is a risk factor for osteoporosis and osteoporotic fracture in postmenopausal women and the association is independent of BMD.

The study, named the Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study, included 1,032 men and 1,701 women aged 50 years and older. Their BMD was measured at the femoral neck and lumbar spine. They were asked whether they had hypertension and their responses were verified by their clinical history. The incidence of fragility fractures was ascertained by X-ray report during the follow-up period (1989–2008). The Cox proportional hazards model was used to assess the association between hypertension and fracture risk.

The study found that women with high blood pressure had lower BMD at the femoral neck than those without the disease. After adjusting for BMD and covariates, hypertension was still an independent risk factor for fragility fracture with an almost 50 percent higher risk seen in women. A similar association between hypertension and fracture risk was seen in men, but it did not reach statistical significance.

In the Osteoporosis International journal, the researchers mentioned several biological mechanisms that could explain the association between hypertension and osteoporosis. High blood pressure is associated with calcium metabolism abnormalities, which lead to increased urinary calcium loss and bone remodeling. Hypertension is related to elevated levels of parathyroid hormone, which accelerates bone turnover and decreases bone quality. High blood pressure may also have insidious effects on brain centers involved with gait control and balance.

Bottom line, they say, the study suggests that hypertension control can benefit bone health in women. Also, after additional research confirmation, “hypertension should be considered a risk factor for osteoporosis and should be used for fracture prediction and prevention.”

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