Harvard Heart Letter

Some blood pressure drugs act as a skeleton key

Three commonly used antihypertension medicines may also protect against brittle bones.

Most medication side effects are irritating, harmful, or downright deadly. Here's one that is good for you: stronger bones. Thiazide diuretics, beta blockers, and ACE inhibitors, all used to control blood pressure and ease the heart's workload, also appear to protect bones from breaking.

That's an important bonus. Thinning bones are responsible for 1.5 million fractures each year among older Americans. They can be disabling and deadly. Almost a quarter of people who break a hip can no longer live independently and end up in a nursing home; another quarter die within a year.

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