May marks Osteoporosis Month, so it’s a great time to learn more about an important part of our body – our bone health.
And that's the focus of this week's blog...
So what is it?
Osteoporosis, meaning “porous bone”, is a condition that occurs when the body loses too much bone mass, accrues too little to begin with, or both. Bones become thinner and weaker as a result, and with the increased fragility comes an increased risk of fracture that can lead to disability and decreased quality of life.
And then there’s osteopenia…
Though many people have heard of osteoporosis, osteopenia is not as talked about. Osteopenia ("weak bones") is a precursor to osteoporosis ("bones full of holes"). So while osteopenia is a normal process of ageing, what we don’t want is for people to then develop osteoporosis.
So what’s happening in our bones?
Bone is mainly made up from collagen which is a protein and provides a soft framework. Calcium phosphate is a mineral that adds strength and hardens this foundation. So essentially, your skeleton is a living growing tissue that responds to needs of the stress that’s exerted upon it.
There are two types of bone: cortical and trabecular. Cortical bone forms the outer layer of the bone and is dense and compact. Trabecular bone makes up the inner layer and has a spongy, honeycomb-like structure. It is the trabecular bone that collapses when an osteoporotic fracture occurs.
Think of it like this – bone formation is like a bank account accepting deposits and withdrawals. If you don’t want to go into debt, then you have to make more deposits than withdrawals. Still with us?
During our childhood and teenage years, new bone is added to the skeleton faster than it is removed as the bones become larger, heavier and denser. This continues until bone mass peaks in our late 20’s. After this age, bone withdrawals begin to exceed deposits.
Your bone health can be improved by consuming enough calcium, vitamin D and exercising regularly while also avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
Osteoporotic fractures are preventable! Take steps to improve your bone health; they will improve your overall health. Get in touch with us on 01722 512 043 for more expert advice on bone health.