Osteoporosis and Coronary Atherosclerosis in Asymptomatic Postmenopausal Women
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Estrogen deficiency is a risk factor for osteoporosis and coronary artery disease. Osteoporosis can be evaluated by measuring bone mineral density (BMD). Coronary atherosclerotic burden can be evaluated by measuring coronary calcium using electron beam computed tomography (EBT) of the heart. We compared coronary calcium scores in 45 asymptomatic postmenopausal women with normal and low BMD. BMD of the lumbar spine and proximal femur was measured by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and coronary calcium was measured quantitatively by EBT. Women were divided into control, osteopenia, and osteoporosis groups based on the T score of the lumbar spine. Women were similar in age, years since menopause, height, weight, and body mass index (BMI). BMD ± SD (g/cm2) of L1–L4 was 0.96 ± 0.11, 0.83 ± 0.03, and 0.73 ± 0.05, in control, osteopenia, and osteoporosis group, respectively. The total coronary calcium score ± SD (relative units) was 41.9 ± 83.1, 115.1 ± 181.9, and 221.7 ± 355.4 for control, osteopenia, and osteoporosis group, respectively; the score was significantly higher in the osteoporosis than in the control group. This study provides initial data suggesting that women with osteoporosis may have a higher risk of developing coronary atherosclerosis.