In a cohort of 781 men >or=50 yr of age followed up for 10 yr, extended calcifications in the abdominal aorta were associated with a 2- to 3-fold increase in the risk of osteoporotic fractures regardless of BMD and falls.
Introduction: Cardiovascular disease and osteoporotic fractures are public health problems that frequently coexist.
Materials and methods: We assessed the relation of the severity of aortic calcifications with BMD and the risk of fracture in 781 men >or=50 yr of age. During a 10-year follow-up, 66 men sustained incident clinical fractures. Calcifications in the abdominal aorta expressed as an aortic calcification score (ACS) were assessed by a semiquantitative method. BMD was measured at the lumbar spine, hip, whole body, and distal forearm.
Results: ACS > 2 was associated with a 2-fold increase in the mortality risk after adjustment for age, weight, smoking, comorbidity, and medications. After adjustment for age, body mass index (BMI), smoking, and comorbidity, men in the highest quartile of ACS (>6) had lower BMD of distal forearm, ultradistal radius, and whole body than men in the lower quartiles. Log-transformed ACS predicted fractures when adjusted for age, BMI, age by BMI interaction, prevalent fractures, BMD, and history of two or more falls (e.g., hip BMD; OR = 1.44; p < 0.02). ACS, BMD at all the skeletal sites, and history of two or more falls were independent predictors of fracture. Men with ACS > 6 had a 2- to 3-fold increased risk of fracture after adjustment for confounding variables (OR = 2.54-3.04; p < 0.005-0.001 according to the site).
Conclusions: This long-term prospective study showed that elevated ACS (>6) is a robust and independent risk factor for incident fracture in older men regardless of age, BMI, BMD, prevalent fractures, history of two or more falls, comorbidities, and medications.