The Relationship between Aortic Calcification and Osteoporosis in Postmenopausal Women
Dr Michelle Frost - Kings College London
Awarded £98,200 in 2006
Osteoporosis and heart disease are common conditions and are a major cause of illness, reduced quality of life and death in the elderly. Recent studies have revealed that these two diseases are linked with patients diagnosed with osteoporosis being more likely to have heart disease than those with normal bone density. Calcification within the aorta (the largest blood vessel in the body) is found in over 90% of patients with heart disease and it has been shown that women with low bone density are more likely to have aortic calcification, increasing their risk of having a stroke, heart failure and a heart attack. Evidence suggests that drugs which are commonly used for the treatment of osteoporosis, called bisphosphonates, may have the potential to decrease calcification within the aorta as well as improve bone density and reduce fracture risk. However, to date this has not been fully investigated. There are three main aims of this research: (i) to examine the relationship between bone density and aortic calcification; (ii) to investigate the effects of osteoporosis treatments on aortic calcification; (iii) to assess the use of simple non-invasive techniques for measuring aortic calcification, which could then be implemented into the clinical management of patients with osteoporosis.