Are bone-strengthening drugs good for the heart?

Almost all treatments for osteoporosis help to prevent arteriosclerosis also. A study in QJM helps to explain why. Statins such as Pravachol, Zocor and Lipitor, used to lower cholesterol, strengthen bones. Bisphosphonates, such as Fosamax and Actinal, used to treat weak bones, also help to lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks. Drugs such as Actos and Avandia, used to treat diabetes and lower triglycerides, also help to strengthen bones.

Osteoporosis occurs when fat cells replace bone cells in bones. Stem cells in bone marrow can form either bone or fat cells. We do not know the signal that encourages bone marrow stem cells to form fat instead of bone, but this recent data show that factors that help to prevent arteriosclerosis may also help to prevent osteoporosis. This is one more reason to eat a diet rich in plants, exercise regularly, and treat osteoporosis and high cholesterol vigorously.

QJM, Volume 98, 2005


Get our newsletter