Friday, August 21, 2020

What Causes Bone Loss?

Unfortunately as both men and women age, they face the possibility of losing bone density to the point of ending up with osteoporosis.  Bone is made up of living tissue that changes constantly.  Prior to puberty, both boys and girls deposit calcium and other minerals at about the same rate.  After puberty, boys tend to increase bone density at a higher rate than women.  Due to the rapid growth of a child, their skeleton is changing in size and the body works on making sure the bone is dense.  Up to 90% of peak bone density is acquired by girls around 18 and boys by 20. For the first 18 or 20 years, the bone tends to increase in mass so it deposits more calcium and other minerals faster than it uses it.  

As people continue aging, bone mass can keep increasing until the age of about 30 when they reach maximum strength and density.  Then between about 30 and when women go through menopause, the body tends to maintain the amount of bone but once women begin going through menopause, women can go through a significant amount of bone loss but it slows once they’re post-menopause.

There are several factors that can effect the amount of bone loss experienced by individuals. 

  1. Sex and Race. - In general men have better bone density than women and men start losing it later than women.  In general it is considered that women can experience significant bone loss by age 50 and men by the age of 70.  If you are an African American woman you are more likely to have better peak bone density than a white woman.

2. Hormonal Factors - When women are younger, their levels of estrogen are high which helps the body increase bone density.  In addition, if a woman is on some sort of oral contraceptives with estrogen, they tend to have higher bone density.  On the other hand, if a female’s period has stopped due to either too low a weight or they are extremely overweight, they may go through bone loss and it may not be made up once their period starts again.

3. Nutrition - It is well known that calcium is essential for good bone health.  If young people do not get enough calcium as they grow, they may not put on enough bone which can lead to weak bones later in life.  There is a study out there that found women who drink three or more cola based sodas per day tend to have at least four percent less bone density than those who do not drink that much soda.  It is thought that women who drink this much soda per day, do not make up the loss of calcium.  Furthermore, it is important to get enough calcium and Vitamin D in one’s diet or the bones lose density.

4.  Physical activity - It has been found that those to regularly exercise or work out tend to have better bone density.  Furthermore, regular exercise composed of weight bearing and resistance activities are the best to prevent bone loss. If a person has a sedentary lifestyle with little to no exercise, they are then at risk for bone loss and osteoporosis.

5. Lifestyle behaviors - Research has shown that certain lifestyle choices can cause bone mass loss.  For instance, smoking as an adolescent can contribute to loss of bone mass and it can lead to fragile bones if the person keeps smoking as they age.  If a person continues smoking, they are at increased risk of Osteoporosis.  In addition, the consumption of alcohol can also increase the possible loss of bone density. 

6.  Diseases - Certain disease such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, chronic liver or kidney disease or diabetes can contribute to the decrease of bone density.  

These are all factors that can impact a person’s level of bone mass.  Many of these things can be addressed so the amount of bone loss can be decreased. If you are older, there are still things that can be done to limit loss but if you are younger, start now to prevent osteoporosis.  I regularly exercise, take supplements to make sure I get enough calcium and vitamin D.  Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear.  Have a great day.

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