A Healthy Bone
Bone is a living tissue. The body is always making and losing (resorbing) bone. While the bone-making cells form new bone using calcium and other minerals from the food we eat, the bone apart so that its minerals can be sued to repair an injury or make new bone. The bone-making cycle is in balance so long as the same amount of bone is built and resorbed.
An Osteoporotic Bone
Osteoporosis is characterised by an imbalance in the bone-making cycle, triggered by changes in the body’s hormonal levels, activities, medications, or dietary patterns. It results in bone being broken-down faster than the bone-making cells can replace it. This reduces bone density.
Left untreated, the weakened and brittle bone can easily fracture with a simple slip or fall, or even under the body’s own weight. When a fracture occurs in the vertebrae due to body weight, parts of the spine compress, causing the back to bend or hunch over time. Some symptoms (eg, cyfosis, unsolved backpain, protruding abdomen) may be indicative of your risk osteoporosis.
Bone Density through the Ages
When we are young, any loss of bone is easily replaced. Our bones are their strongest from the mid-20s to the early 30s. However, as we age, more bone is lost that it is made.
In the first 6 years of menopause, a woman can lose up to 1/3 of her spinal bone mass as her ovaries stop producing oestrogen, a female hormone that keeps her bones strong during the reproductive years.
Later in life, both men and women’s bones are at risk of becoming weakened, brittle, and prone to fractures.