Thursday, January 25, 2024

Osteoporosis May Raise Risk of Depression in Older Adults

Adults aged 50 or older who have osteoporosis are nearly twice as likely as those without to experience depression, according to a study published this week in Public Health.

“The treatment of osteoporosis has been a growing public health concern worldwide,” wrote Keng Chen, M.D., of Sun Yat-sen University in Shenzhen, China, and colleagues. “In the [United States], about 14.1 million adults aged 50 years and older had osteoporosis, and the prevalence rate showed a steadily increasing trend. … However, there are few studies investigating depression status in people with osteoporosis.”

Chen and colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative, ongoing program designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The survey gathers data through both interviews and physical examinations. The researchers focused on data from NHANES participants who were aged 50 or older and completed the survey in the following two-year cycles: 2005 to 2006, 2007 to 2008, 2009 to 2010, 2013 to 2014, and 2017 to 2020.

The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 was used to determine if participants had depressive symptoms or probable depression. Those with scores of five or greater were considered to have depressive symptoms. Those with scores of 10 or greater were considered to have probable depression. Finally, participants were considered to have osteoporosis if their femoral neck bone mineral density was 2.5 or more standard deviations below the average for non-Hispanic White women aged 20 to 29 years in the study.

A total of 11,603 adults, 52.3% of whom were male, with an average age of 65 years were included. Additional findings of the study include the following:

  • 5.2% of the participants had osteoporosis, 21.4% had depressive symptoms, and 6.9% had probable depression.
  • Participants with osteoporosis were more likely to be older, female, non-Hispanic white, and current smokers.
  • Of participants with osteoporosis, 31.9% had depressive symptoms and 10.0% had probable depression.
  • After adjusting for confounding factors such as sociodemographic characteristics and lifestyle factors, participants with osteoporosis had a 73% higher risk of depressive symptoms and a 91% higher risk of probable depression, compared with those without osteoporosis.

“Our findings highlighted the importance of paying close attention to the psychological status of osteoporosis patients,” the authors concluded. “It may be necessary to evaluate the mental well-being of patients with osteoporosis in clinical and primary health care. Further studies are warranted to clearly establish the relationship between osteoporosis and depression.”

For related information, see the Psychiatric News AlertLithium Associated With Lower Osteoporosis in Patients With Bipolar Disorder.”

(Image: Getty Images/iStock/PeopleImages)

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