Researchers may have found a connection between osteoporosis and heart disease

Norwegian studies indicate that people with osteoporosis have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and vice versa. Now researchers believe they have found a biological system that may explain both disease processes.

In 2001, Professor Lone Jørgensen and her colleagues at the University of Tromsø published a study showing that women who had suffered a stroke had much lower bone density than other women of the same age.

"Atherosclerosis is a disease in which fatty material, calcium and connective tissue collect along the walls of arteries. It is a common cause of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases," said Jørgensen.

The researchers carried out a study to determine the possible connections between osteoporosis and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, using data from about 6,000 men and women who participated in a special survey on the condition.

Data revealed that a biological system involving osteoprotegerin (OPG) may be a common denominator.

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