Osteoporosis and congestive heart failure are two common and major public health problems. Heart failure is one of the leading causes of death and hospitalization of older adults. On the other hand, osteoporosis affects approximately 10 million Americans, which increases their risk of fractures. Recent studies show that heart failure patients have an increased risk of fractures. How are these two linked? Find out below.
Explaining the Link Between Heart Failure and Increased Risk of Fractures
Common Risk Factors
Risk factors are elements that may contribute to a person’s likelihood of developing or acquiring a condition. Osteoporosis and heart failure share the following risk factors:
- Advanced age
- Postmenopausal status
- Type II diabetes
As we age, our bodies are at a higher risk of acquiring several health conditions, including cardiovascular disease and weaker bones. With advanced age comes the likelihood that one chronic condition weakens the body enough to make you susceptible to other chronic conditions. Some studies suggest that osteoporosis and heart failure are interconnected. Experts believe heart failure patients of advanced age should be mindful of this and regularly consult with their doctors, as well as get enough calcium, vitamin D, and exposure to sunlight.
Bone Mineral Density
Bone mineral density or BMD is one of the best indicators if a person has a high risk of osteoporotic fractures. A significant percentage of heart failure patients have low bone mineral density, which makes them prone to fractures – particularly in the hip and spine.
Weight Loss and Frailty
Patients who recently suffered heart failure are likely weaker than normal. In addition, they may have also lost a significant amount of weight and quickly get exhausted. They are at a higher risk of falls as a result of weakness. Because they are still recovering and are at a higher risk of falling, their risk of fractures is also higher.
Heart Failure Treatments
Some medications for heart failure play a role in the increased risk of fractures. An example would be loop diuretics, which promote calciuresis and lower bone mineral density. Likewise, it also makes heart failure patients more susceptible to falling because of orthostasis, which is characterized by dizziness or fainting when you suddenly rise from a resting position. Adjustments in medications should be considered for long-term use.
Managing the Increased Risk of Fractures
As studies point out, heart failure patients have an increased risk of fractures. To address this concern, experts believe that the first step is to make healthcare providers and patients aware of the link.
Older adults with heart failure should undergo a bone mineral density test to identify their risk level or if they have osteoporosis. Once the risk of osteoporosis is identified, health care providers of heart failure patients can then prescribe appropriate treatments.
For instance, bisphosphonates are widely used for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. Alendronate, similar to bisphosphonates, is also used to treat osteoporosis. However, some studies suggest that these medications may increase the risk of cardiovascular problems in some cases. Careful monitoring and regular check-ups are necessary for heart failure patients.
Patients with congestive heart failure should also stay mindful and heed this advice from experts to avoid developing osteoporosis and incurring fractures:
- Quit smoking
- Get plenty of sunlight
- Exercise regularly
- Get enough vitamin D and calcium
Your lifestyle must cater not only to managing heart failure but also to dealing with osteoporosis, which increases your risk of incurring bone fractures. You can discover ways to adjust your diet and address your needs through nutritional counseling and proper disease management.
Heart Failure Management in Texas
At Star Medical Associates, we take your health seriously. We aim to provide you with high-quality, comprehensive health care. If you are a heart failure patient, we can help assess your condition and lower your risk of incurring fractures.
If you have questions and concerns, you may call us at (940) 382-6900 for our Denton clinic or (469) 301-2300 for our Frisco clinic. For your convenience, you may also schedule an appointment online.