Posted by William on September 19, 2012
First the good news ??¦ your body doesn’t stop growing bone tissue when you stop growing. You can continue to add to your bone mass no matter what age you are if you keep physically active and consume enough calcium to meet your daily needs. Now the not-so-good news.
Most Americans, especially teens, are sedentary and aren’t getting the recommended level of calcium needed (about 1200 mg per day) every day to build bone mass.
Calcium is a major player regarding bone density. Ninety-nine percent of it is found in our bones where calcium helps to give bone its structure. The remaining one percent is found in the blood and other body fluids where calcium helps in muscle contraction, blood clotting and nerve transmission. If we don’t get enough calcium, several health problems can result, the primary one being osteoporosis.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition of weak bones caused by a gradual loss of the structural minerals such as calcium. It is often termed the “silent disease” because it develops slowly over a period of years before the obvious signs such as loss of height, curvature of the spine or fractured bones occur. There is no cure, but it can be prevented if you know what it is, how it develops and what you can do to avoid it. The following questions will help you find out.
How Old Are You?
If you’re over 40, your bones are starting to become thinner. This is just a normal part of aging. The bones become thinner because they are losing calcium faster than they gain it. But you can slow down the rate at which your bones lose calcium by eating calcium-rich foods (see table).
Do Any of Your Relatives Have Osteoporosis?
If you inherited a small, thin skeleton, then you have a greater chance of developing osteoporosis. Caucasian and Oriental women are at higher risk as they tend to have small frames and thinner bones than men and African-American women.
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