Heart failure is associated with a 30 percent increase in major fractures and also identifies a high-risk population that may benefit from increased screening and treatment for osteoporosis, according to a recent study published in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 5.8 million people in the United States have heart failure, and nearly 67,000 people are diagnosed with it each year.

Osteoporosis along with heart failure have prevalence among the elderly, and those with diabetes. Common reasons for bone loss in heart failure patients, are due to needed heart medications and their bone weakening side effects. In addition, those with heart failure are at greater risk of loosing balance and falling down.

“Our study demonstrates for the first time that heart failure and thinning of bones go hand in hand,” said lead study author Dr.Sumit Majumdar, in a statement. “Understanding the mechanism between heart failure and osteoporosis might lead to new treatments for both conditions.”

Majumdar along with fellow researchers used 45,509 adults who underwent bone mineral density testing for the first time, and monitored them for up to ten years. Out of the 45,509 adults tested in the study, 1,842 had recent-onset heart failure, thus, allowing researchers to confirm that heart failure was related to a 30 percent increase in major fractures.

“Part of screening for osteoporosis should involve looking at chest x-rays of patients with heart failure,” said Majumdar. “Heart failure patients get a lot of x-rays and they often incidentally show many fractures of the spine that would automatically provide an indication of severe osteoporosis and need for treatment.”

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