Your bones are living tissue that needs lifelong protection and nurturing. Here are five facts about bones you might not have known.
- Bones are Alive – They may feel like rocks, but bones are living things. Osteoblasts (a group of cells) are constantly working to create new bone, while osteoclasts destroy bone. The constant battle between creation and destruction is called, “bone remodeling.” It’s why bones regenerate after a break, grow rapidly during childhood and unfortunately, decline later in life when destruction starts winning the battle.
- Hip Fractures are More Likely than Cancer – Although breast and other cancers top the list of health concerns, osteoporosis should be right up there, too. A woman’s risk for an osteoporosis-caused hip fracture is the same as her breast, ovarian and uterine cancer risk combined. A broken hip can be a potentially life-changing event often requiring surgery and long recovery times.
- Dentists Can Diagnose Bone Loss – Bone loss can occur anywhere in the body, even the jaw. If the jawbone deteriorates or loses density, the result can be loose teeth and receding gum lines. Dentists can pick up on osteoporosis by checking your regular dental x-rays and being on the lookout for related health problems.
- Ethnicity Affects Bone Strength – While anyone can develop osteoporosis, your risk is much higher if you are Caucasian or Asian. It’s estimated that 20 percent of Asian and non-Hispanic Caucasian women over the age of 50 have osteoporosis, while 52 percent have a precursor to osteoporosis known as osteopenia or decreased bone mass. In contrast, only 10 percent of Hispanic women in this same age group have osteoporosis, and 49 percent have osteopenia.
- You Can Build Up Your Bones – Playing sports, lifting weights, running, and almost any activity that moves muscle will trigger your bones to get stronger and denser. Since bone density peaks around age 30 and then declines, the more you build in your younger days, the more you’ll have later. It’s like a 401K for your bones!