Tue. May 28th, 2024

An osteoporosis expert says more awareness is needed to help magnify the link which exists between bone-health and mental wellbeing.

Dr Taher Mahmud, Co-Founder and Director of London Osteoporosis Clinic, said the two issues are often wrongly overlooked, and that osteoporosis sufferers regularly develop mental ill health.

And he said Mental Health Awareness Week is a “pivotal moment” to address this.

Dr Mahmud also said practicing mindfulness and other mental health techniques could relieve some of the painful associated symptoms osteoporosis sufferers can develop.

“While mental and bone health might seem unrelated at first glance, mental states can profoundly impact bone health, affecting bone density and skeletal integrity, and thus risk for bone fractures,” Dr Mahmud said.

“Mental Health Awareness Week is a pivotal moment to further explore this link and shine a light on it.

“We’ve seen studies in the past which have shown how 42% of people said their osteoporosis has made them feel socially isolated.

“This figure underscores the significant emotional and social challenges faced by individuals living with osteoporosis, emphasising the importance of supportive communities and targeted interventions to reduce feelings of isolation.”

Explaining the impact stress can have he continued: “Stress serves as a fundamental connector in this relationship. High-stress levels lead to increased cortisol production, which not only disrupts mood but also contributes to bone density loss, potentially leading to osteopenia and osteoporosis.

“Conversely, bone health issues can exacerbate mental health problems. Chronic pain or mobility issues due to weak bones can lead to significant psychological stress, including depression and anxiety.”

However, Dr Mahmud said the relationship between mental health and bone health isn’t only about risks but also opportunities.

He said improving mental health through regular physical activity not only uplifts mood but also strengthens bones.

“Mindfulness and meditation can reduce the harmful impact of stress-related cortisol on bone health,” Dr Mahmud added.

“To nurture this symbiotic relationship, holistic self-care that includes mental and bone health is vital. Therapeutic practices, relaxation techniques, and robust social support networks can enhance bone health, while a balanced diet rich in nutrients and regular exercise can bolster mental resilience.

“This Mental Health Awareness Week, it’s vital we recognise the complex ecosystem within our bodies where mental and physical health are intertwined. By fostering the mind-bone connection, we contribute to holistic well-being and lay the foundation for a healthier, more resilient future.”

By Editor