Are you are worrywart who lets stress get the best of you? Well, you could be hurting your bone health, as lack of life satisfaction could be putting you at greater risk of developing osteoporosis in your later years, new research suggests.
While physical factors such as lack of exercise are often listed as causes of osteoporosis, there could be more emphasis on how mental factors could put women at risk of the condition, according to a new study at the University of Eastern Finland and published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.
Researchers looked at data on 2,167 women who had taken part in the ongoing Kuopio Osteoporosis Risk Factor and Prevention (OSTPRE) Study, since 1989. Using both bone density measurements as well as surveys asking the participants about their life satisfaction, the researchers found that those who had a decrease in life satisfaction also saw their bone density weaken by 85 percent in comparison to those whose life satisfaction increased.
Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle — so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses like bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine.
Bone is living tissue, which is constantly being absorbed and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the removal of old bone.
Osteoporosis affects both men and women, but women — especially those who are past menopause — are at highest risk. Medications, healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones.