Social Stress Can Lower Bone Density After Menopause

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Social Stress Can Lower Bone Density After Menopause
Social Stress Can Lower Bone Density After Menopause

Video: Social Stress Can Lower Bone Density After Menopause

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Video: Heart and bone health after menopause 2023, February
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Social stress can lower bone density after menopause

A study by scientists from the United States has shown that social tension in older women leads to an increase in the loss of bone mineral density in the hip and spine.

Social stress can lower bone density after menopause
Social stress can lower bone density after menopause

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According to a recent study, older women who are under greater social stress are more likely to develop fragile bones after menopause compared to their peers who live without severe shock. The study is published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

The researchers followed 11,020 postmenopausal women over six years, periodically testing their bone mineral density (BMD) and checking their mood. The participants evaluated the following indicators:

the level of social tension, negative interactions and relationships;

  • social support and positive relationships;
  • social functioning and restrictions on social activity.

Each increase in social tension indicators by one point was associated with an increase in BMD loss in the neck by 0.082%, in the femoral neck - by 0.108%, and in the lower spine - by 0.069%.

“One in two older women suffers from fractures due to many risk factors for bone loss,” said Shawna Follis, lead author of the study and at the University of Arizona at Tucson, USA.

“We found that severe social stress is one of the risk factors that contribute to increased bone loss in older women,” Follis added.

Reducing estrogen production during and after menopause in women can slow down the formation of new bone tissue. Over time, this process leads to a decrease in BMD and an increased risk of osteoporosis. Bones thinned by osteoporosis become brittle and easily break.

The authors of the work note that most of the previous research on the links between osteoporosis and mental health has focused on whether thinning bones or fractures can cause mood disorders such as depression or anxiety.

In the cited study, high levels of social stress were associated with lower BMD - even after the authors considered other factors that may affect bone health: age, education, chronic health problems, body weight, smoking, alcohol use, hormone therapy. time of menopause, physical activity and past fractures.

The study found that low social functioning is associated with a decrease in BMD in the hip and neck. And low social support is in the neck.

Research does not prove that social stressors directly affect bone mineral density. In addition, the relationship between different social stressors and fractures was not considered. The study does not provide evidence to support whether reducing social stress will affect bone health.

However, the results show that older women who cope better with stress have healthier bones and a lower risk of fractures, says JoAnn Pinkerton, an adult health expert at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

"For women who experience anxiety or social stress, cognitive therapy, self-soothing strategies, yoga, community participation and, if necessary, medication can reduce anxiety levels," said Pinkerton, who was not involved in the study.

According to Pinkerton, when osteoporosis develops, there are different ways to prevent bone fragility from increasing: “Calcium, vitamin D and strength training can prevent further bone loss. While many women fear the side effects associated with osteoporosis medications, they are actually rare. But fractures are much more likely."

Osteoporosis medications slow down bone thinning and reduce the likelihood of fractures. These medications can cause nausea and abdominal pain. Rarer and more serious side effects include cracks in the femur or jaw.

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