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Strong Bones

Posted by rafael on September 12, 2011 in Health

Bones are the resilient, tough and strong tissue forming part of the endoskeleton of vertebrates. According to several specialized publications, they consist of soft and hard tissues. Soft connective tissue includes myeloid hematopoietic tissue, bone marrow and adipose tissue (fat). In turn, the main hard tissue can be characterized as a specialized type of connective tissues made up of calcified extracellular components and cells (known as osteocytes).   Furthermore, bones’ surfaces are covered by articular cartilage connective tissue, while they also have a surface covering, formed by fibrous connective tissue (known as periosteum).

Bones have several functions and numerous forms. They have a complex, but very functional internal structure, what determines its morphology; therefore, although they are light, they are also tough and strong. As experts explain, the whole set of bones form our skeletal system, where each bone plays an important role in relation with others next to it. Although numerous people think bones are a kind of inert structure, actually they are considered as vital organs (just like our brain, muscles, etc.) of human body, with a great capacity for reconstitution and generation.

For instance, they have a detoxification function, as they can remove external elements to the body from the blood (like heavy metals); they also protect vital organs from trauma (ribcage protect heart and lungs, skull protect brain, etc.); they act as a major reserve of minerals in our bodies; they form a rigid structure supporting soft tissues and organs, among others.

However, our skeletal system is exposed to several pathologies including congenital, metabolic, neoplastic, inflammatory and circulatory, which can seriously affect its functionality. One of the most important is osteoporosis which affects bones strength. Next we are offering some information about this disorder.

Osteoporosis

This is a skeletal disorder characterized by a low bone strength, a low bone mass and the bone’s micro-architectural deterioration, resulting in reduced bone strength, increased fragility and increased risk of fractures. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the prevalence of osteoporosis is particularly high in the elderly population. Nowadays, osteoporosis is considered as a major public health problem worldwide affecting more than 200 million people. Its prevalence increases with age of individuals; therefore, it is a quite serious health disorder, considering that today it is estimated that 500 million people in the world are 65 years old or older, and this figure will increase to 1 billion by 2030, representing an eighth of the world’s population.

As reported by several specialists an osteoporotic fracture is a trauma resulting from a torque or a force exerted on the bone that would be insufficient to fracture a normal bone (for instance, when an elderly person falls from his standing position). This type of fracture, especially when they are localized in the spine or the hip, cause of significant mortality and morbidity. There are two types of osteoporosis: primary osteoporosis, which in turn is divided into postmenopausal osteoporosis and aging osteoporosis; secondary osteoporosis (resulting from various diseases and drugs).

Muscle-Bone Unit

Muscle contraction is the most important physiological load on bones. As reported by several specialized sources, the critical property of bone is its strength. Bone’s strength control is mainly exercised through the effect of the mechanical loads affecting them. Hence, mass and bone strength are closely related to muscles function. The development of muscles and bone during growth is influenced by gravity associated with physical activity and strength. Muscle forces create the maximum efforts acting on the bones. This intrinsic relationship between muscles and bones is described by the mechanostat theory, which states that increasing maximal muscle force during growth or in response to increased load, affects the mass, size and bone strength. Vice versa, the immobilization or physical inactivity, will result in the reduction of muscle development and muscle strength, and will have negative effect on the mass, size and strength of bones.

As experts explain, our skeleton is biomechanically controlled depending on the deformations caused by its use. This way, bones cells’ organization provides a suitable substrate for the operation of the feedback regulatory system, which controls bones’ deformability. Osteocytes detect deformation vectors and send stimulating or inhibitory messages (as appropriate) to the osteoclasts or osteoblasts. The result is a constant modeling and remodeling of the tissue structure that tends to optimize (slowly) the mechanical efficiency of the bone composition, based on how a person uses its skeleton.

There is a special technique known as bone densitometry (BMD) that is used in clinical practice to measure bone mineral density, to diagnosis osteoporosis and to obtain and determine a fracture risk. WHO defines the right bone density as the amount of bone mass in a young normal adult (T-score). This way, a normal bone mineral density is defined by a ≥ -1 T-score <-1, while a -2.5 values means osteopenia (a decreased bone density, and a T-score <-2.5 means osteoporosis.

 Osteoporosis Risk Factors

The main goal of treating osteoporosis is to prevent fractures, what is accomplished by minimizing or eliminating risk factors, maintaining bone strength and stopping bone loss.  Considering osteoporosis is a silent disease, the detection of the risk factors should be performed as early as possible to obtain an early diagnosis. Osteoporosis prevention should be carried out at all stages of a person’s life. On one hand, the medical knowledge of risk factors shall be promoted, and on the other, it is essential to carry out massive campaigns addressed to raise population awareness about bone health, including children’s education.

According to experts, the maximum amount of bone a person can acquire during the first two decades of his life is heavily influenced by a number of factors, such as physical activity during childhood and adolescence, sun exposure (due to photo conversion of vitamin D), food intake (calcium, calories, proteins), the degree of puberty development, among others. At the same time, the main risk factors for osteoporosis are hyperthyroidism; rheumatoid arthritis; diabetes and metabolic syndrome; therapy with corticosteroids and other drugs; alcohol; snuff; sedentary lifestyle; family or hereditary history of osteoporosis; low weight and poor nutritional status; history of previous fractures; early menopause and estrogen deficiency in premenopausal period; female age and gender.

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Keeping your body healthy is not easy. Even more today, with the lack of time, people need to work or study more. Few people can or wants to afford to exercise, to go somewhere on foot, instead of driving or even cooking a healthy meal instead of getting something in the nearest fast-food. Even those who have time and inclination to do all these healthy things, does not usually stop to think about the bones, they usually think you will never have problems with them. Who does not care about the rest of the body probably does not care for these body parts.

Strong Bones

Strong Bones

The bones are of course extremely important for locomotion and for the welfare of any person. To keep them strong or avoid that it breaks easily, like the victims of diseases such as osteoporosis, you need to let them always healthy. One of the key nutrients to maintain a healthy bone structure, or make it, if not, is calcium. Besides the bones, the substance also contributes to the smooth functioning of a number of other body parts. To ensure these effects calcium diet should contain a reasonable dose of the substance, which varies with the age of each individual. Calcium should not however be taken in excess, it can also cause complications.

Strong Healthy

Strong Healthy

Newborns and babies up to six months should consume up to 210 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day for a good strength of the bone structure of the body. After that and until the child turns one year old, the amount should increase to 270 mg. Children under three years should eat up to 500 mg, four to eight years should consume 800mg of the substance. From the age of nine and even a legal adult you should be consuming about 1300 mg of calcium a day. After that lower the amount of 1000 mg, which should be maintained until age 50, when it increases to 200 mg per day. A doctor should be consulted so that you know the exact amount of calcium that each person should consume.

Strong

Strong

Calcium exists naturally in the human body. But when the daily dietary calcium intake is much less than the amount shown above, the human body that needs the substance for other functions, begins to withdraw calcium from bones and teeth to use it elsewhere. Thus, the bone gets reduced, which causes various diseases such as osteoporosis, which is serious and silent. Who is not familiar with diets high in foods that contain calcium, like milk, you can use other methods to keep your bones strong, as the consumption of vitamins D and K, and magnesium.

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