How are depression and osteoporosis linked?
Studies show that older people with depression are more likely to have low bone mass than older people who aren’t depressed.4 Bone mass refers to the amount of minerals, such as calcium, in your bones. Low bone mass can lead to osteoporosis. Younger women with depression may also be at risk for osteoporosis. One study found that among women who have not yet reached menopause, those with mild depression have less bone mass than those who aren’t depressed.5
Although osteoporosis affects more women than men, one study has recommended checking for osteoporosis in older men with depression. The same study suggested checking for depression in older men with osteoporosis, because osteoporosis increases the risk of depression.6
If you have osteoporosis, you may need to make many lifestyle changes, and these changes may increase your risk of depression. For example:
- To prevent falls that could cause already fragile bones to fracture or break, you may not be able to take part in some activities you once enjoyed.
- Weakened bones may make it harder to perform everyday tasks, and you could lose some of your independence.
- You may feel nervous about going to crowded places, such as malls or movie theaters, for fear of falling and breaking a bone.