Home Health & Wellness Mental Health Awareness Week Highlights Crucial Link Between Mental and Bone Health

Mental Health Awareness Week Highlights Crucial Link Between Mental and Bone Health

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An osteoporosis expert has called for greater awareness of the critical connection between bone health and mental well-being, emphasising the need to address this often-overlooked issue.

Dr Taher Mahmud, co-founder and director of the London Osteoporosis Clinic, stressed that osteoporosis sufferers frequently develop mental health problems, making Mental Health Awareness Week a pivotal moment to highlight this link.

Dr Mahmud explained that mental health practices such as mindfulness could alleviate some of the painful symptoms associated with osteoporosis. He noted, “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 increasing the increasing the risk of bone fractures.”

He underscored the significance of Mental Health Awareness Week in exploring and shining a light on this connection. “We’ve seen studies in the past that have shown how 42% of people say their osteoporosis has made them feel socially isolated,” Dr Mahmud said. “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.”

Dr Mahmud elaborated on the impact of stress, noting that it serves as a crucial link in the relationship between mental and bone health. “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.”

He added that bone health issues could worsen mental health problems, as chronic pain or mobility issues due to weak bones can lead to significant psychological stress, including depression and anxiety.

But Dr Mahmud highlighted that the relationship between mental health and bone health is not solely about risks but also opportunities. He pointed out that improving mental health through regular physical activity not only enhances 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.”

Dr Mahmud emphasised the importance of recognising the complex interplay between mental and physical health, stating, “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.”

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