bone density

Low BMD in Women May Predict Cardiovascular Events

Low bone mineral density (BMD) in older women may predict the risk of future atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), according to the results of a recent study.

The researchers aimed to better understand the association between BMD and a diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease events such as death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and ischemic stroke.

Included in the study were 12,681 women who underwent dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, a common screening tool for osteoporosis. All participants were aged 50 to 80 years and were seen at the Seoul National University Bundang Hospital between 2005 and 2014. Age, body mass index, hypertension status, type 2 diabetes status, hyperlipidaemia status, current smoking status, and previous fracture history were among the clinical risk factors for which the researchers adjusted.

Over the median 9.2-year follow-up period, 3.7% (n = 468) of participants experienced ASCVD events. A higher risk of these events was found to be independently associated with a lower BMD at the lumbar spine (adjusted hazard ratio per 1 standard deviation decrease in BMD: 1.16, < .001), femur neck (1.29, < .001), and total hip (1.38, < .001), as well as a clinical diagnosis of osteoporosis (1.79, < .001).

After adjusting for clinical risk factors, BMD and a clinical diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis resulted in a significant improvement in discriminating ASCVD events.

“The evaluation of BMD provides predictive value for ASCVD events in women,” the researchers concluded. “Moreover, it provides independent and incremental prognostic value over that for age and other clinical risk factors. Further studies are warranted to determine whether the evaluation of BMD translates into long-term clinical benefits in women.”

—Leigh Precopio


Park J, Yoon YE, Kim KM, Hwang IC, Cho GY. Prognostic value of lower bone mineral density in predicting cardiovascular disease in Asian women. Heart. Published online May 7, 2021. doi: /10.1136/heartjnl-2020-318764