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Approved research

Osteoporosis, fractures and cardiovascular risk

Principal Investigator: Professor Nicholas Harvey
Approved Research ID: 3593
Approval date: September 8th 2014

Lay summary

Osteoporosis (thinning of the bones), and ischaemic heart disease (narrowing of arteries in the heart) are both common conditions associated with an enormous burden of ill health and decreased survival across the population. Recent studies have suggested that people who have osteoporosis are more likely to have narrowing of their arteries and are also likely to die earlier than those who do not. However such studies have usually been small and unable to investigate potential underlying mechanisms. We will use the whole UK Biobank cohort to initially explore the relationships between baseline measures of bone density (heel ultrasound), and risk factors for heart attacks and strokes such as blood pressure, pulse wave velocity and aortic stiffness and pre-existing heart disease, whilst controlling for other factors such as coexisting disease, medications, lifestyle, physical activity and family history. We will then investigate, when the assay results become available, whether these relationships are mediated via markers of chronic inflammation and other factors such as vitamin D and sex-hormone levels. We will also request data on new cardiovascular events such that after 5 years, longitudinal associations can be explored.