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Why Is Bone Health So Important

Bone is a living and growing tissue mostly made up by two elements, collagen and calcium. These two elements allow for strength and flexibility, allowing bone to withstand stress. More than 99 percent of the body's calcium is found in bones and teeth, with only 1 percent in the blood. Bones act as shields to protect all our organs, including our brain and heart. They also store calcium and phosphorous for the body to use.  

Though there are a number of things that play a role in bone health, many that can be controlled and others that can't. However, it's never too late to make yourself aware of bone health and take the first steps toward a strong framework.

What are some common bone disease?
Although it's normal for our bones to shed old bone and replace it with new bone, if we don't take steps now to keep our bones healthy, our bones break down more bone than they put back as we age. Unfortunately, as bone health deteriorates you may not even know it. That's because bone loss often happens over a long period of time and may not have any pain associated with it.

Osteopenia is a condition when bone mineral density is lower than normal but not low enough to be osteoporosis. It is considered by many doctors to be a early sign of osteoporosis. However, not every person diagnosed with osteopenia will develop osteoporosis.
 
Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease. Osteoporosis occurs when bones have become weak, increasing risk for fractures and breaks. Most often bones will break in the hip, wrist and spine. For many adults, a broken bone may have been the first sign of osteoporosis.

Osteomalacia is similar to that of Rickets found in children, but affects mainly adults. It is cauterized by weak bones and abnormal bone formation due to poor Vitamin D absorption by the body.

Paget's disease is a disorder of cells responsible for breaking down, rebuilding and remolding bone tissue. This causes bones to become enlarged and thick but also brittle due to unusual size of the bone.

Osteogenesis Imperfecta is a genetic disorder that has similar characteristics of Osteoporosis by brittle bones that break and fracture easily. However, is caused by a gene defect in the production of collagen (one of the elements bone is made up of). Osteogenesis imperfecta weakens the spine and teeth, along with the bones in the ear which can cause hearing loss.

Bone Cancers is a cancer that can begin in the bone or spreads to the bone from another part of the body such as cancer in the lungs, breast or prostate. There are several types of primary bone cancers such as leukemia, osteosarcoma, and chondrosarcoma.

Am I at risk for bone disease?
There are many risk factors that can increase your chances of getting bone disease. Some risk factors are controllable, like diet and exercise.  Though, some are outside of your control, for example sex or age.

Controllable risk factors:

  • Diet: If you're not consuming enough foods with calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the absorb calcium.
  • Physical activity: Like muscles, with regular exercise, bones become stronger–and stay stronger. Not exercising may weaken bones, decreasing there density.
  • Body weight: Being underweight might mean you're not getting in all essential nutrients forcing your body to use nutrients in your bone.
  • Smoking: Cigarettes prevent calcium absorption. Also causes early onset of menopause in women.
  • Alcoho: People who drink are shown to have decrease bone formation and increase bone breakdown.
  • Medicines: Certain medicines which help people with arthritis, asthma, or even seizures could put you at increased risk of bone loss, speak with your Doctor about these risks if your medications that help these conditions.

Risk factors you cannot control:

  • Age: As we grow older so do are bones, but keeping them strong now will help later.
  • Gender: Women have smaller bones than men and lose bone faster than men because of hormone changes that happen after menopause. Rid yourself of habits like smoking, which are shown to cause early onset of menopause.
  • Ethnicity: Bone disease doesn't discriminate no matter what your ethnicity but Hispanic, White, Asian or African American are all at high risk.
  • Family history: By having a family member, like a parent or grandparent, who has osteoporosis or even has broken a bone may also increase your risk.

How can I find out if I have bone disease?
Some bone disease does not have any symptoms until a bone breaks, however you can educate yourself on risk factors. If you meet any risk factors talk to your doctor and ask if a bone density test should be done.

A bone density test is a quick, safe, and painless way to measure how strong–or dense–your bones are. By measuring bone density a doctor can measure your chances of bone disease.

However, if you feel musculoskeletal pains in the joints, muscles or bones is severe or persists for more than a few days contact your doctor or Mather Rheumatology right away. Other tests maybe necessary and may include:

  • Blood work
  • Bone biopsy
  • Urine test
  • X-rays

Can I Make My Bones Healthier And Is It Too Late?

The best time to take care of your bones is now. It's never too early or too late to start. Here are some simple steps in improving your bone health.

A calcium rich diet: It is the most abundant mineral in the body, and because we can't make it, we need to consume a diet rich in calcium. For adults ages 19 to 50 and men ages 51 to 70, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day. This increases to 1,200 mg a day for women after age 50 and for men after age 70.

Good sources of calcium include:

  • All dairy products
  • Almonds
  • Dark green vegetables (broccoli, kale, collard greens)
  • Salmon with bones
  • Sardines
  • Soy and tofu
  • Beans and Lentils  
  • Calcium fortified products 

** If you find it difficult to get enough calcium from diet, ask your doctor about supplements.

Vitamin D: In order to absorb calcium our body needs Vitamin D. For adults ages 19 to 70, the RDA of vitamin D is 600 international units (IUs) a day. The recommendation increases to 800 IUs a day for adults age 71 and older.

Good sources of vitamin D include:

  • Oily fish (tuna, sardines, salmon)
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified milk and milk products
  • Sunlight, just 15min of sun light on the face and hands daily is suggested.

** If you're worried about getting enough vitamin D, ask your doctor about supplements


Featured Provider

FProv_0620_17_Bleecher Harbor View Medical Services, PC (HVMS) welcomes Charles G. Bleecher, MD, FACP to Mather Primary Care Internal Medicine location in Rocky Point, NY.

Featured Location

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Mather Primary Care at Rocky Point
McCarrick's Medical Park
745 Route 25A, Suite A
Rocky Point, NY 11778
Phone: (631) 821-0200

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