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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bone Basics

Bones are the building blocks of our bodies. They are hard, yet flexible, and consist of collagen, calcium-phosphate mineral compounds, and living cells that regenerate constantly. New bone cells are formed, as the old ones die off.

In children and teens, bone cells grow at a more rapid rate than they are lost. At this young age, your body is achieving its "peak bone mass," or densest, healthiest amount of bone during your lifespan. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the more bone you have between the ages of 18 to 25, the less likely you are to suffer from a broken bone or osteoporosis later on.

Osteoporosis occurs when you lose too much bone, or make too little, leading to fragile bones susceptible to breaks. 

As you grow older, your body loses more bone than is formed. This usually happens around midlife, for both men and women. In women, bone loss increases greatly following menopause.

It is important to support your bone health and strength as you age with proper diet, calcium and Vitamin D supplements, as well as exercise.

Other interesting bone facts include (courtesy of Beth Israel Deacones Medical Center): 
  • An adult has 206 bones.
  • There are 26 bones in the foot. 
  • There are 54 bones in the human hand, including the wrist. 
  • The femur, or thighbone, is the longest and strongest bone in the body. 
  • The stapes, in the middle ear, is the smallest and lightest bone in the body.
  • Broken arms account for almost half of all adults' broken bones. 
  • The collarbone is the most commonly broken bone in children. 
  • Bones cease growing in length during puberty. 
  • The hyoid, a bone located at the base of the tongue, is the only bone in the human body not connected to another bone. 
  • Bones protect organs from impact damage.
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