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Osteoporosis and heart disease may have similar causes

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Individuals who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis may want to have their cholesterol tested as well. According to a new study from Norwegian researchers, these individuals are much more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

Both osteoporosis and heart disease are extremely common conditions. In Norway, where the study was conducted, more than half of all women and a quarter of men have osteoporosis, while more than 400,000 individuals have cardiovascular problems. Similar percentages are found in the U.S. Researchers believe that they have found a common biological mechanism that contributes to both.

After reviewing the findings of several previous studies, researchers from the University of Tromso found that the individuals with increased levels of the protein osteoprotegrin (OPG) are more likely to develop osteoporosis, heart disease or both.

"We have found that bone loss is linked to a high level of OPG in post-menopausal women," said Lone Jorgensen, who led the investigation. "In addition, we see that a high level of OPG also predicts the development of atherosclerosis in women."

She added that her future research will focus on using this knowledge to develop more effective testing and treatment options for individuals with high levels of OPG.

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