It is unknown whether a relationship exists between bone mineral density (BMD) and atherosclerosis with or without vascular calcification. In our study, a negative correlation between carotid atherosclerosis and BMD was found in female T2DM patients with vascular calcification, but not in those without calcification and males.
Atherosclerosis is considered associated with low bone mineral density (BMD). However, most previous studies focus on patients with arterial atherosclerosis with vascular calcification. It is still unknown whether a relationship exists between atherosclerosis and BMD in patients without calcification. It is also unknown if sex plays a role in this relationship.
We performed a retrospective cross-sectional study, which included 1459 type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients (648 males ≥ 50 years old, and 811 postmenopausal females). They were assigned to three groups: group 1 (patients without carotid plaques and without carotid calcification), group 2 (patients with carotid plaques but without carotid calcification), and group 3 (patients with carotid plaques and with carotid calcification). Clinical characteristics and BMD were compared. The relationship between atherosclerosis and BMD was determined by binary logistic regression analysis. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS 25.0.
Significant differences were only observed in women. The percentage of osteoporosis was higher in group 3 (43.64%) than in groups 1 (34.82%) and 2 (32.14%) (P = 0.016). Low BMD was found in the lumbar (P = 0.032), hip (P < 0.001), and femoral neck (P < 0.001). The odds ratio for osteoporosis increased significantly in a score-dependent manner in postmenopausal female patients with calcified atherosclerosis, but not in uncalcified patients. In men, no differences or relationships were identified.
A negative correlation between carotid atherosclerosis and BMD was found in female T2DM patients with vascular calcification, but not in those without calcification. A similar relationship was not observed in male patients with or without calcification. Thus, the relationship between atherosclerosis and bone mineral density in patients with type 2 diabetes depends on vascular calcifications and sex.