It is well known that menopause, lack of exercise, smoking, low calcium intake, and even drinking soda are osteoporosis risk factors for women, but a recent study reveals another hidden risk for low bone mass density (BMD) in premenopausal women: depression.
One hundred thirty-three premenopausal women ages 21–45—eighty-nine with depression and 44 without, all with similar lifestyles and risk factors including smoking, exercise, caffeine, and alcohol intake—were tested for BMD and other osteoporosis indicators over a 20-month period. Researchers found that the depressed women had significantly lower BMD in the hips and lower spine compared to the nondepressed women, although no association between severity of depression and level of BMD was found. Even though treating depression doesn’t seem to reduce the likelihood of avoiding BMD loss, say researchers, knowing about the correlation can help women who struggle with depression beat the odds.