Blood vessels may turn into bone-like particles with age: Study

Washington: Researchers have discovered that blood vessels within bone marrow may progressively turn into bones with advancing age.

The study published in the journal ‘Microcirculation’ suggested that ossified particles may contribute to diseases such as vascular calcification, heart attack, stroke, and inadequate blood supply to the limbs.

“By examining seemingly unrelated images and linking the details of them together, I was able to posit the presence of bone-like particles in the blood,” said Rhonda Prisby, who led the study.

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“In fact, some of the ossified particles are large enough to clog the smallest blood vessels in the vascular tree,” Prisby added.

Approximately 610,000 people die each year from a heart disease-related event, making it the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.

Vascular calcification is a common characteristic and risk factor for morbidity and mortality, Prisby said. These bone-like particles are potentially more dangerous because of their sharp edges.

“Some of the ossified particles have sharp tips and edges that could damage the lining of blood vessels,” she said. “This damage could initiate events leading to atherosclerosis (build-up of plaque), which can restrict blood flow over time.”

The discovery of these bone-like particles could help physicians detect and treat potentially life-threatening conditions.

“When looking for etiologies related to vascular calcification, heart attack and/or stroke, perhaps we should consider if and how ossified particles contribute to these diseases,” Prisby said.

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