London:  Can you believe that your depression and anxiety may lead to depletion of bone density?

A group of scientists, led by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, analysed the collected data from over 8,000 men and women from central Norway who had participated in the internationally renowned Nord Trondelag Health Study.

Participants underwent forearm bone mineral density scans, as well as they had to complete a questionnaire regarding current depressive and anxiety symptoms.

Other factors that may be associated with both psychiatric symptoms and bone, such as body weight and height, as well as physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, medication use, calcium and caffeine intake and current medical conditions were also examined in the study.

Team member Dr Lana Williams of Deakin University said they found depressive symptoms, as well as anxiety symptoms in men, were associated with lowerbone mineral density.

"Even after taking into account other medical and lifestyle factors, this finding persisted. There are several known risk factors for low bone mineral density, such as advanced age, gender (women are at greater risk than men), familial predisposition, low levels of sex hormones, inadequate calcium intake and vitamin D deficiency," Dr Williams said.

"It is possible that poor mental health could be another one of these risk factors," Dr Williams added.

Recently the possible association between psychiatric illness - particularly depression - and osteoporosis has been the subject of a growing body of research.

However, this is the first study to examine anxiety symptoms in relation to
bone mineral density.

"These findings may be of clinical relevance considering the significant costs of fracture in the community and suggest that monitoring bone health in individuals diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder may be advisable," Dr Williams said.

The study has been published in the 'Journal of Affective Disorders'.