The link between cardiovascular and bone health: a randomized controlled trial of statins and exercise rehabilitation in post-menopausal women

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and osteoporosis are major health problems in North America. CVD is the leading cause of death of North American women, and one in four Canadian women over the age of 50 has osteoporosis. Once a woman reaches menopause, the risk for both osteoporosis and CVD increases substantially. Both diseases were thought to be independent consequences of aging. However, mounting evidence shows links between these diseases. For example, a widely used class of cholesterol lowering drugs, known as statins, reduces atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and also increases bone health. Exercise may also provide the same health benefits, but more than 60 percent of Canadian women between 50 and 70 are not active enough to reduce their risk of heart disease or osteoporosis. Dr. Darren Warburton is studying the combined effect of statins and exercise on cardiovascular and bone health, physical fitness and quality of life. The research could provide important new information to help develop prevention and treatment programs for these diseases in post-menopausal women.