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Bone Shrinkage Causes, Avoidance & Risks
Bone shrinkage poses a serious risk to long-term health and well-being. Contrary to popular belief, human bones are more than mere hard structural supports for internal organs and soft tissue.
In addition to being indispensable anatomical infrastructural components, bones function as vast repositories for vitamins and various essential nutrients.
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Basic Bone Composition
Calcium is the chief nutritional compound stored within bony structures. Moreover, the core of bones called “marrow” constantly manufacture new red blood cells that carry oxygen and glucose energy throughout the body via the bloodstream.
Despite their tough exterior texture, bones are indeed alive and teeming with constant activities that are vital for optimal physical health.
A protein base called “collagen” is the main constituent of which bones are composed. Inside a bone, collagen exists as a complex framework with great flexibility.
Calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate are mineral additions that lend strength and firmness for maximum bone functionality.
Indeed, over 99 percent of your body’s internal calcium reserves are contained within the teeth and bones. The 1 percent remainder resides within the bloodstream.
Unique Nature of Bones
Their diametrically opposed dual functions require both strength and elasticity. While supporting vulnerable soft tissues and internal organs, bones must have sufficient stress resistance to avoid easy breakage.
Meanwhile, bones must be adjustable to relatively rapid growth of infancy, early childhood, and puberty. This final function is accomplished through a cyclical process that could be properly called “resorption/formation.”
Throughout the entire normal human lifespan, older bones are gradually broken down to accommodate the development of additional skeletal demands.
Dynamic Time Line of Skeletal Development
Consistent with widespread perception and casual observation, most bone growth occurs during childhood and adolescence. Bones become progressively heavier, stronger, and bigger during these chronological life stages.
Although less obvious during early adulthood, new bone formation continues into the late 20s or even early 30s, when bone mass and density peak.
Beginning around age 30 or so, resorption gradually begins to exceed new bone formation frequency.
Common Causes of Bone Shrinkage
Bone shrinkage is bound to result whenever the body’s rate of obsolete bone resorption exceeds that of new bone regeneration.
Many interdependent factors have major impact upon overall bone resorption/regeneration ratios. Some, such as diet, exercise, certain medications, and lifestyle choices like smoking are within your conscious control.
Others operate independently of the most intensive efforts at overt manipulation or control. Two main bone shrinkage factors that fall within this category are age and heredity.
Life Events That Can Cause Bone Loss
Menopause is a major milestone that is well-known for inducing significant bone shrinkage among women. Likewise, men begin to experience bone loss associated with advancing age, and andropause – albeit at a slower rate than that of women. The age of 65 or thereabouts appears to be the “Great Equalizer” between male and female bone loss.
Other Risk Factors for Rapid Bone Loss
In addition to the lifestyle and dietary issues mentioned above, lupus, Chron’s disease, and low testosterone levels can lead to major bone loss in men. Dramatically reduced estrogen levels associated with menopause brings about major bone loss in women.
Additionally, smaller physical stature, myriad health disorders such as asthma and arthritis increase the incidence of bone shrinkage in both genders.
Ironically, long-term corticosteroid usage, a medication category that is traditionally prescribed for bone-related diseases, can also lead to the loss of skeletal mass in both men and women.
Proactive Measures to
Prevent Bone Shrinkage
Although age and heredity are two main bone loss factors that are largely beyond your control, many simple adjustments are available to help you prevent or retard progressive bone shrinkage:
C + D – F = Less Bone Loss
Despite superficial appearances, the above equation denotes neither a musical score or mathematical formula. Instead, it is short-hand for an ideal dietary strategy that helps prevent excessive loss of essential bony tissue.
“C” is for Calcium
There is a definite correlation between dietary calcium bone loss and dietary deficiency. Thus, the “C” indicates calcium. The following calcium-rich foods are excellent safeguards against insufficient calcium intake:
- Low-fat diary products like yogurt, skim milk, ice cream, and cheese
- Leafy green vegetables like spinach, collard greens, and broccoli
- Non-filleted salmon and sardines
- Tofu fish
- Almond nuts
Look for calcium-fortified cereals, breads, and orange juices.
Specialized calcium supplements are also readily available in granular, liquid, or solid form. They may be added to food or ingested separately.
“D” Denotes a Vitamin
Vitamin D is the second factor in the Big Picture of Bone Loss Prevention. Abundant Vitamin D ingestion greatly facilitates calcium absorption. Absent its presence in sufficiently high amounts within the bloodstream and tissues, the body cannot properly absorb the calcium contained in the foods you eat.
This leads to weaker bones and loss of substantive skeletal matter. Vitamin D manufacture is accomplished by your skin. Exposure to natural light initiates the production of this vital nutrient.
Although its production is primarily accomplished via natural means, Vitamin D may be externally acquired from fortified fish, liver, dairy products, and egg yolks. During the winter season or while housebound, elderly people typically require Vitamin D supplements in dosages that range between 400 and 800 IU per day.
Reduce Fat To Minimize Bone Loss
Last but not least, bone shrinkage is largely preventable merely by decreasing daily dietary fat intake. Excessive fat consumption burdens the digestive system and significantly retards absorption of vitamins and minerals essential to the maintenance of optimal bone health.
Decreased bone loss leads to increased quality of life
Adhering to the above guidelines greatly reduces the risk of bone shrinkage at all stages of life. It is never too early to start counteracting the devastating effects of decreased bone mass.
As asymptomology is a primary danger of degenerative bone disease, preventative measures and early detection are especially imperative.
Do not let a painful fracture and permanent paralysis lie dormant within your body’s skeletal system for another moment. Instead, begin ensuring future health and maximum longevity by inviting more stabilizing forces into your life today!
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I have been experiencing bone loss and my doctor says I am at risk of osteoporosis. Are there foods that can help me minimize bone shrinkage? What other suggestions do you have to help me manage and avoid more problems?