We’ve all heard that calcium is good for our bones, but what else can we do? With Aussies living longer than ever before, it’s important to understand what habits you can establish now to keep your bones healthy as you get older.
At any age, you’ll need healthy bones to help you move, stay strong and protect your organs. However this becomes even more important as you grow older, to protect yourself from developing osteoporosis -- sometimes known as ‘brittle bones’ – which can increase your risk of fractures.
How do my bones grow?
The human body is constantly evolving as we age, and bones are certainly no exception. As an adult, you have 206 bones and that won’t change. But there’s plenty happening on the inside as your body continually builds up and breaks down bone tissue. In fact, each bone is completely rebuilt about every ten years. This involves a complex process of different bone cells working in harmony, including:
- Osteoblasts: Cells that build bone tissue
- Osteocytes: Cells that maintain bone tissue by controlling mineral and calcium content
- Osteoclasts: Cells that break down old bone tissue.
If you have an imbalance between osteoblasts and osteoclasts, it can lead to bone disease, including osteoporosis.
Am I at risk of osteoporosis?
From about the age of 30, you gradually lose bone density, and that’s a normal part of ageing. Put literally, osteoporosis means porous bones. When your bones lose minerals like calcium more quickly than they can replace them, they become less dense and break more easily. The chart below shows the increasing incidence of the condition according to age.