Osteoporosis & Depression – Treatment, Procedure, Tests, Symptoms

As we grow older, our bones become weak due to decline in bone mass. These fragile bones are prone to fractures easily. This phenomenon of weakening of bones is called as osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis can happen at any age however it is prevalent in older patients. Depression is found to accelerate the process of osteoporosis in older adults.

How are depression and osteoporosis related?

Researchers have revealed that older people who have depression possess lower bone mass as compared to normal older people. Bone mass is the amount of calcium present in the bones.

Risk Factors for low bone mass

  • Younger women who have depression
  • Women with mild depression who have not yet reached menopause
  • Being women
  • Older men with depression

Due to presence of osteoporosis, patients have to adopt several lifestyle changes which eventually cause symptoms of depression.

  • Osteoporosis patients may not be able to take part in activities that were once enjoyable due to fear of fracture of fragile bones.
  • Difficulty in performing everyday tasks
  • Loss of independence
  • Fear of going to crowded places for fear of fracturing a bone

Symptoms of depression in patients with Osteoporosis

Patients who are suffering from osteoporosis may experience various symptoms of depression.

Patient may not observe some of these symptoms; however his/her friends or family members may notice them.

  • Feeling of worthlessness, sad mood
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Difficulty in sleeping (too much sleep or too less sleep)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tendency to eat more or loss of appetite
  • Lack of energy or fatigue
  • Lack of interest in enjoying tasks that were once pleasurable
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Suicidal tendency
  • Lack of self esteem
  • Increasing intake of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco

Diagnostic Tests for Depression in patients with heart diseases

The diagnosis of the major depression is performed by doctors after thorough medical examination of the depressed patient.  Patient is asked various questions related to medical history and symptoms.

Common Diagnostic Procedures

  • Full patient medical history
  • Physical Assessment
  • Thorough evaluation of symptoms
  •  Standardized questionnaires

Treatment of depression in patients with osteoporosis

Psychiatrists treat the depression in patients with osteoporosis by employing combination of various therapies for obtaining the desired results.

  • Medications like antidepressants and antipsychotic medications

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) including citalopram, sertraline, and fluoxetine

Serotonin and nor epinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) including venlafaxine and duloxetine

Antidepressants medications take many weeks to show their results. Psychiatrists usually combine medications with other therapies such as Cognitive-behavioural therapy or ongoing talk therapy.

The dosage of these medications may be adjusted depending on the patient’s response for reducing the side effects and achieving the optimal results.

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy/ Psychotherapy/ or talk therapy
  • Physical exercise
  • Support from families/friends
  • Lifestyle changes including regular aerobic exercises that boost the patient’s mood
  • Medications for building new bones and stopping bone loss

Psychiatrists recommend exercise as an important part of osteoporosis treatment. Exercise helps in treatment by following ways.

  • Strengthen bones and muscles for preventing fractures
  • Boosting mood of patients by treating depression