How Vitamin D and Parathyroid Hormone Levels Affect Cardiovascular Risk
These health markers could increase risk for heart disease.
Vitamin D and parathyroid hormone concentrations are two important markers of cardiovascular and overall health. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that not only can be found in some types of food, but is also produced by the body in response to sunlight. It is essential for strong bones and may help protect against diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Parathyroid hormone is a protein hormone released by the parathyroid gland, which helps regulate the body’s calcium and phosphorus levels.
Together, vitamin D and parathyroid hormone levels are important markers that can tell a lot about an individual’s health. When calcium levels are low, parathyroid hormones are released by the body to help counteract this deficiency. Therefore, high concentrations of parathyroid hormones in the blood indicate a variety of health concerns, one of which is vitamin D deficiency. And when the body experiences a vitamin D deficiency, this causes weakening of the bones and inflammation, which may increase cardiovascular risk.
How important are vitamin D and the parathyroid hormone to cardiovascular health? A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology followed a total of 2,312 patients over 14 years to assess the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and elevated parathyroid hormone with cardiovascular risk. Researchers found that vitamin D deficiency was associated with a 9–29% increased risk for death and a 25% increased risk for heart attack. Elevated parathyroid hormone levels were associated with 30% increased risk for heart failure.
These findings suggest that vitamin D deficiency is strongly associated with increased risk for heart attack and death, and elevated parathyroid hormone levels are associated with heart failure. As vitamin D deficiency and elevated parathyroid hormone levels are extremely common in older adults, it is important that adults get enough calcium and vitamin D to promote cardiovascular health.
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