Bone density isn’t something we hear a lot about, at least not in the same way we hear about other women’s issues.
What is bone density and why does it matter?
Bones are mostly made of collagen and proteins within a strengthening frame work of calcium phosphate, calcium carbonate and other minerals. Our bones and teeth contain all but 1% of the calcium our body needs. It is critical that our bones are both strong and flexible. The collagen and calcium work together to ensure that the framework for our body is in optimized shape. We are continually adding new bone to our skeleton, at least in theory. When that balance of old and new bone growth is upset, we end up with bone loss and a weak skeleton.
This is where we all understand bone density, especially if we are menopausal women and dealing with the effects of Osteoporosis.
Here are some facts about bone growth and bone loss…
- Most new bone is added in childhood and teenage years
- We reach our peak bone mass at about age 30
- Bone loss increases just following menopause
- Bone loss is caused by lack of calcium in our diets, age, smoking, some medications, lack of exercise.
- Small frame and underweight women are at greater risk for lower bone density.
- Loss of height is a sign of increasing bone loss
- Dark greens and low fat dairy products will increase calcium levels in our diet
- Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium
- Weight bearing exercises help build bone
- Estrogen replacement can assist in preserving bone loss
Do you think you may be at risk of low bone density?
If you are over 50, underweight, early menopause, post menopausal, a smoker, have experienced loss in height, or have a family history of osteoporosis or hip fractures. If you aren’t sure, meeting with your health care provider is always best.
Osteoporosis is one of those things that can be prevented. As women, we often put off the simplest thing when making small changes now, can have the biggest pay offs down the road.