By Pat News, RNC, NP, MSN
The body is made up of over 200 bones and it is this framework, or skeleton, that supports and gives shape to the body while it protects the vital organs. Contrary to a common misconception, bone is a living substance. In fact, bone is one of the most active tissues in the body. By a process known as remodeling, bone is constantly being broken down and rebuilt.
To begin the process of bone formation, bone cells use proteins and other building blocks to produce a substance called collagen. These collagen fibers develop a mesh to which calcium, phosphorus and other numerous minerals are able to attach. Through a crystallization process that takes days and weeks, the minerals attaching to the mesh become hardened. Other factors facilitate the nourishment of bone by aiding in the exchange of nutrients between the bone and blood. There are bone cells that even work to digest unneeded pieces in order to shape and remodel bone.
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A healthy diet that includes an adequate amount of calcium is urgent. Milk, cheese, broccoli and foods fortified with calcium will enable you to get adequate intake of calcium. Vitamin D also plays a major role in calcium absorption and bone health– sources include fortified dairy products and whole grain cereals, egg yolks, liver and saltwater fish. A main source of Vitamin D is sunshine. Of course it is necessary to exercise caution regarding too much sun, but just 20 minutes a day will give you an adequate amount of Vitamin D.
Weight bearing exercise and resistance training exercises are important for building and maintaining bone mass. Jogging, walking, stair-climbing and dancing all make bones and muscles stronger by having them work against gravity, while weight lifting improves muscle mass and strengthens bones.
There are certain risk factors which place a person at higher risk for bone loss. Smoking, steroid use, being Caucasian, menopause, excessive intake of carbonated beverages, small stature, low body fat, intestinal absorption problems and the use of certain medications all place a person at increased risk for a loss of bone density and eventual osteoporosis.
To schedule an appointment to discuss your bone health and the reduction of your risk factors, call Pat News Health Care at 661-799-7000.
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