Osteoporosis 'link to depression'

Depression may increase the risk of the bone disorder osteoporosis in premenopausal women, a study suggests.

A US study found 17% of depressed women but just 2% of those not depressed, had thinner bone in a part of the hip. It found depressed women had overactive immune systems, making too many chemicals that promote inflammation including one that promotes bone loss. The Archives of Internal Medicine study compared 89 depressed women with 44 non-depressed women, all aged 21 to 45. Osteoporosis affects half of all women, and one in five men, over the age of 50.

It is estimated to cause 60,000 broken hips each year in the UK, costing the NHS £1.73bn.

After bone mass reaches its peak in youth, bone-thinning continues throughout life, accelerating after menopause. Hip bones are among the most vulnerable to fracture in osteoporosis patients.

The researchers, from the National Institute of Mental Health, found these bones were particularly susceptible to thinning in depressed premenopausal women.

Dr Richard Nakamura, NIMH deputy director, said: "Osteoporosis is a silent disease. Too often, the first symptom a clinician sees is when a patient shows up with a broken bone."

"Now we know that depression can serve as a red flag - that depressed women are more likely than other women to approach menopause already at higher risk of fractures."

Source - BBC