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Depression "red flag" for osteoporosis

Depression has been pinpointed as a risk factor for osteoporosis in older women, experts claim.

A study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has found that premenopausal women with even mild depression have lower bone mass than women who are not depressed.

They study of 89 depressed and 40 nondepressed women found that 17% of depressed women had thinner bone in the hip compared with women who were not depressed.

NIMH Deputy Director Richard Nakamura said: “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.”

Study author Giovanni Cizza said: “Depression generally isn't on clinicians' radar screens as major risk factor for osteoporosis, particularly for premenopausal women. It should be.”

National Institute of Mental Health