Marital breakdown and bereavement could trigger brittle bone fractures in middle-aged women, researchers have discovered.
They found women who suffered extreme emotional stress were more likely to suffer from weakened bones.
The researchers at the University of Arizona believe stress causes fluctuations of hormones which can result in loss of bone density – leaving women vulnerable to breaks from even minor falls.
One in three women and one in five men aged over 50 will suffer a fragility fracture at some point in their lifetime.
Osteoporosis, the most common reason for a broken bone among the elderly, is a disease in which bones become brittle and weak as the body loses more bone mass than it can rebuild. It affects more than three million people in the UK, and 500,000 people suffer fragility fractures every year.