New research from Yale School of Medicine, in the US, has found a correlation between how severe a woman’s wrinkles are in the first few years after menopause and low bone density levels.
Looking at 114 women who had not had any cosmetic skin procedures and were not taking hormone therapy after having gone through menopause, the researchers gave each woman a score for face and neck wrinkles. This score was based on the number of sites with wrinkles and the depth, as well as skin firmness which was measured with a device called a durometer. The study participants had their bone density measured via X-ray and ultrasounds.
The researchers found that the higher the wrinkle score – ie the deeper the wrinkles and more widespread – the lower the bone density was in all areas, including hip, lumbar spine and heel. The link was also found to be independent of age, body composition or other factors that affect bone density. Also, the more firm a woman’s skin was the better her bone density was.
Although the researchers cannot say for certain why this link exists, they surmise that because the skin and bones are made up of proteins called collagens it makes sense that if collagen is lacking one area, it will also be lacking elsewhere in the body. They hope that their findings will help doctors predict potential future risk of problems with bone density and give advice based on that. Women with lower bone density are far more likely to suffer with fractures and can even result in a fatal injury, especially if the break is in the hip area.
Low bone density in post menopausal women is a result of hormonal changes, but diets low in vitamin D and calcium are also problematic as these are nutrients bones require to remain strong. Weight training has also been found to be beneficial in improving bone density. For exercises you can do, click here.
First published June 8, 2011