She Broke a Hip!

This is an exclamation often heard when people get older.  Sometimes everyone seems to think that it’s quite normal for hips to break.  They think that any type of fall will result in broken bones in an older person.

Although broken bones are common, they don’t have to happen. A good osteoporosis doctor Georgia can explain how bones age and how to avoid breaks.

How Bones Grow 

The reason older people can frequently break bones is because of the way the human body makes bones.  Since mammals grow during their lives, bones have to grow too.

Before birth, human babies have bones that are all cartilage – like the cartilage in the tip of the nose or the outside of the ear.  Just before birth, the bones start hardening.  After birth, the whole skeleton starts to change out the cartilage for bone tissue. Some bones like the long bones in the legs have growth plates.

All through life bones are constantly remodeling themselves.  They absorb old bone and then deposit new bone.  When they absorb old bone that is called resorption.  Bones do the most remodeling during the growing years.   In the growth years, the bones do more deposition and less resorption.

What is Osteoporosis?

Starting around age 40, bones do more resorption and less deposition.   Humans lose about 10 percent of their total bone mass per decade for no reason except the passage of time.  The body not only resorbs too much bone, but it also doesn’t deposit as much bone.

The insides of healthy bones look like a honeycomb.  As people age and the bones deposit less material, the holes and spaces get much bigger.  The bone is less dense and therefore less strong.  This is why older people get broken bones.

Other Causes of Osteoporosis 

Mother Nature isn’t the only cause of osteoporosis. Some diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis can cause osteoporosis. Having weight loss surgery and spinal cord injuries contribute to extra bone loss.  Some medicines such as cancer drugs and steroids also make osteoporosis worse.

Living with Osteoporosis

Unfortunately, the time to think about osteoporosis is before the age of 30.  Young people aren’t thinking about building strong bones, but that is the time to do it.  They should not smoke, eat nutritious foods, and make sure they get plenty of exercise, especially exercise that involves the whole body.

Osteoporosis can’t be cured, but a good osteoporosis doctor in Georgia can tell people how to slow it down and keep bones healthier longer.  You can’t build back the bone density you used to have, but you can slow down the loss.

Doctors recommend three basic things to do to keep osteoporosis from becoming serious:  eat foods that contain calcium, eat foods that contain vitamin D, and get lots of regular weight-bearing exercise.

Lastly, there are now medications that can slow down osteoporosis.  While bones can’t get back to normal, bisphosphonates can increase bone density by a few percent each year for a few years and cut down on broken bones.