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High blood pressure has reached epidemic proportions in the US with nearly half of all adults now suffering from the condition, which can put you at risk for both heart attack and stroke, two of the leading causes of death.
And while you would think that would be bad enough, there are lesser-known dangers faced by everyone who has hypertension that can be just as worrisome.
That’s because if you’re living with high blood pressure, you’re also living with significantly increased risks for other conditions, like Alzheimer’s and kidney problems.
Now, according to a team of researchers at Vanderbilt University, there’s one more thing you need to watch out for if you’re a victim of high blood pressure — bone loss.
The relationship between hypertension and bone aging
High blood pressure and osteoporosis are not only prevalent diseases, but people often have both at the same time.
To learn more about the possible connection, researchers compared younger mice with hormone-induced hypertension to older mice without high blood pressure to determine any differences in bone strength and density.
So, what did they find?
“In these mice, being hypertensive at a younger age essentially aged bones as if they were 15-25 human years older,” said the study’s lead author, Elizabeth Maria Hennen.
After just six weeks of high blood pressure, the young mice experienced:
- A 24 percent reduction in bone volume fraction
- An 18 percent reduction in the thickness of the sponge-like trabecular bone located at the end of long bones, such as femurs and the spinal column
- A 34 percent reduction in estimated failure force, or the ability of bones to withstand different types of force, which can lead to vertebral fractures in later life
“It appeared that high blood pressure was adjusting the bone remodeling process toward bone loss, rather than bone gain or bone equilibrium, in the hypertensive young mice. As a result, bones will be weaker, leading to an increased risk for osteoporosis and fragility fracture. In humans, this might mean that we should screen for osteoporosis in people with high blood pressure,” she added.
Combatting high blood pressure and bone loss
Put simply, high blood pressure speeds up bone loss, making your bones older than your years.
This means that if you want to keep your bones strong, you have to take steps to keep your blood pressure in the green zone.
This includes eating a healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, that’s even been shown to keep a second heart attack away.
It also means maintaining a healthy weight, which can lower your risk of high blood pressure by a whopping 40 percent.
In the Rotterdam Study of almost 11,000 participants, researchers found that:
- Those with the highest vitamin K2 intake had low calcium amounts in their aortas — the biggest blood vessels in the body. That means less chance of a buildup to block arteries and increase blood pressure.
- Higher vitamin K2 intake led to a 57 percent lower risk of death from heart disease and a 52 percent lower risk of calcification of the arteries.
The fact that vitamin K2 helps flush calcium away from arteries is a big clue to how it promotes bone health: It helps shuttle excess calcium in the bloodstream to areas of the body where it’s needed — like our bones.
No wonder numerous studies have shown a link between dietary vitamin K2 intake and higher bone density mass and lower bone fracture rates.
This makes vitamin K2 a one-two punch for people with hypertension who want to support better blood pressure and better bone health.
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High blood pressure may accelerate bone aging — ScienceDaily
Vitamins for Bone Health — American Bone Health