When people in the Denver area reach middle age it’s important they become aware of the importance of bone health. A lack of bone strength and density can cause compression fractures of the spine, as well as hip fractures which change the course of someone’s life. The bones in a person’s body protect their internal organs as well as provide support for muscles and more. Bone health is an important part of overall health.
This is the level of bone mineral found in a person’s bone tissue. It is measured in mass of mineral per volume of bone. The amount of bone density is an accurate way to determine if a person is a fracture risk or will develop osteoporosis. It can be measured during a procedure known as densitometry. The patient does not experience any pain during this procedure, and it is non-invasive and takes about 10 minutes. The parts of the body measured are the upper part of the hip as well as the lumbar spine.
Bone is a 2-part tissue – the scaffolding is built by hormones, including estrogen, testosterone, Vitamin D, and growth hormone. Calcium hangs on the scaffolding to firm up the bones.
The most common cause of osteoporosis in men is testosterone deficiency. A doctor may recommend testosterone replacement as a way to build up the bone mass in a man’s body. This has been an effective way to prevent or slow bone loss. Much of the success depends on age as well as how long a man’s testosterone levels have been low
Estrogen plays an important role in the regulation of bone mass and strength. It is what controls the activity of bone-reabsorbing osteoclasts and bone-forming osteoblasts. Estrogen levels in women drop off quickly at menopause, increasing risk of thinning bone.
Vitamin D plays an important part in helping the body absorb mineral such as phosphorus and calcium from the food a person eats. This is important for maintaining bone health. There have been studies that show when postmenopausal women take calcium together with vitamin D, it can help increase their bone density. It has also been shown to help with other bone disorders such as rickets.
A person’s bones will become stronger when subjected to mechanical stress such as weight bearing exercises. When the body is under stress, the bone tissue deposits more of mineral salts. This often leads to strength in bones. When the stress is eliminated, the body’s reabsorbing cells will remove unnecessary bone. During stress, calcium phosphate crystals produce small amounts of electricity. This stimulates the cells in the body to build bone. This is known as the piezoelectric effect.
Growth hormone is an important hormone produced by the pituitary gland. It is named for the time of life at which it is most abundantly produced, between ages 16 and 21, however it plays important roles in healthy aging. It is a major bone builder and is increased by adequate protein consumption, healthy testosterone levels, weight lifting, melatonin, and deep sleep.
The health of a person’s bones is essential to their health and quality of life. When a person has good bone health, they are less prone to accidents. A person with healthy bones will have a better immune system and an improved ability to fight off sickness.