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How much do you have in your bone bank?

Osteoporosis is a disease where the bones become weak and fragile which makes them susceptible to breaking more easily.
 

We always think of osteoporosis being an older ladies problem with 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 and one in 5 men over 50 breaking bones due to osteoporosis. Whilst the majority of our bone density is decided by genetics, your lifestyle during the childhood and teenage years also plays a role in your bone density.
 
By the age of 21, you have built up 95% of your bone density with the final 5% having developed by the age of 25. What this means is that your childhood and teenage years are invaluable for building up as much bone density (putting some bone in the bank) as possible. The higher the bone mass during childhood and teenage years, the longer it takes for osteoporosis to come on. This can be achieved by getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet (one containing the appropriate levels of calcium) and making sure that you are eating enough for the amount of sport you are doing. There are some great resources on the world osteoporosis day website. http://worldosteoporosisday.org 
 
The body starts to reabsorb the calcium out of your bones over the years, this rate of resorption dramatically increases for women when they go through menopause due to hormonal reasons. So, what can be done at this stage to try and minimise the effects of bone resorption?
 
Similar to during your childhood years, lifestyle choices will have an impact on your bone density. Regular exercise is important- weight-bearing exercise such as walking helps to maintain bone density because the body will naturally lay down more bone to counteract the stress put through the bone on impact. Resistance (strengthening) exercise is also important because again the body will want to lay down bone where the muscles are pulling on the bone as you strengthen. Ensuring you are eating the right things and getting enough calcium will assist with maintaining bone density and avoiding lifestyle factors such as smoking. If you have risk factors such as previous fractures and medications which may affect your bone density, please speak with your doctor.
 
Start putting some deposits in the bone bank today!