Bone loss is a severe problem for sedentary or older people. People with a low Bone Mineral Density (BMD) have a higher chance of fracture. Falls or even everyday activities can cause their bones to break. Low BMD is also a serious problem for stroke patients who have issues with walking and exercising. Since load-bearing activities are the best ways to increase BMD, reduced activity can negatively affect it.
Fortunately, a recent study looked at the bone health of patients with mobility problems to see what traits, characteristics, or practices led to the reduction of bone density. The major findings were that women who reported getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night had a higher BMD than women who reported getting less than 7 hours. Also, men who did not report suffering from depression had a higher BMD than men who did. Even without taking BMD reduction into consideration, you should talk to your doctor if you are sleeping poorly or depressed. Both conditions are treatable, and insurance usually covers the cost.
Methods of the bone density study
This study used data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES). KNHANES is a large statistical study which collects survey data from approximately 10,000 people a year. Researchers used the self-reported nutritional and behavioral survey data of 512 people with physical activity restrictions. About 100 were stroke patients, with the rest mostly suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease, or asthma. The researchers also measured each participant’s lower spine BMD using a technique called DXA (Dual X-ray Absorptiometry), which is a highly accurate way to measure it. Getting proper sleep promotes healthy bones, but some studies found that too much sleep can lower BMD due to lack of activity.
If a stroke has limited your mobility and ability to exercise, focusing on getting enough sleep can preserve your BMD.
The first author of the original article was Dr. Myung Kyung Lee, College of Nursing, Research Institute of Nursing Science, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea.