As if wrinkles weren’t enough to worry about: Deepening smile lines and crow’s feet just might indicate weak bones, a risk for future fractures, new research suggests.
The study that led to such a conclusion hasn't been published yet, and an association is far from proven, but that’s the early supposition from Yale University researchers. They peered at wrinkles on the faces and necks of 114 post-menopausal women and compared them to bone mass and density from X-ray and ultrasound measurements.
The worse the wrinkles, the lower the bone density, the researchers were slated to announce this week at the Endocrine Society Meeting.
The researchers also found that rigid skin was linked to higher bone density. The link may be a protein — collagen — that builds structures in both skin and bones, says this WebMD article.
So injecting Botox won’t do much for fighting brittle bones. But getting enough calcium and vitamin D does protect against bone fractures, large studies have found, even as new research calls into question just how much is necessary.
Exercise can also help build and retain bone mass, especially weight-bearing workouts such as jogging or climbing stairs (not swimming or biking), according to the NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. The risk of bone fractures is higher for people who are older, female, white or Asian, have a small body frame, don’t get enough calcium or are sedentary, says theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention.
To avoid the tell-tale wrinkles, the common wisdom is to limit UV exposure and wear sunscreen. The effectiveness of anti-aging skin creams is debatable.
If you do have wrinkles don't panic. The research is provocative, not to mention headline-grabbing, but it's far from conclusive.
In any case, avoiding fractures is a good way to age gracefully.
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