Bone Care

Did you know?
More than 99 percent of the body's calcium is contained in the bones and teeth. The remaining 1 percent is found in the blood.

Take care of your bones!
The better your health and mobility before your fracture, the better your chances are for a complete recovery. Your body's ability to build bone mass starts to decline around age 30, so it's important to maintain. Your bones are living tissue that grow and remodel. They are made of collagen and calcium. It's estimated that adult bone tissue remodels at a rate of 10 percent each year. There are multiple ways you can improve your bone health, prevent fractures and the development of osteoporosis. These include:

  • Eating a balanced diet that includes Calcium and Vitamin D (check with your doctor for recommended amounts)
  • No smoking, no excessive consumption of alcohol, no recreational drug use
  • Get regular exercise

Fracture healing
There are several different types of bone fractures. Fractures heal in three phases:

  • Reactive: inflammatory phase and granulation tissue formation
  • Reparative: cartilage callus formation and lamellar bone deposition
  • Remodeling: remodeling to original bone contour
Treatments depend on the type, severity, and placement of the fracture. A splint or cast may be applied, or in some cases surgical repair may be necessary. The rate of healing for fractures depends on many factors including age, diet, and lifestyle however, in general, weeks are required for full recovery.

Balanced Diet
Calcium rich foods:

 
FoodServing sizeCalcium (mg)
Yogurt, plain nonfat1 cup450
Rice, calcium-fortified, cooked1 cup300
Milk, nonfat1 cup300
Orange juice, calcium fortified6 oz225
Cheddar cheese1 oz205
Salmon, canned3 oz205
Sardines, canned3 oz325
Fortified ready-to-eat cereals (various)1 oz236-1043
Collards, cooked from frozen1 half cup178
Molasses, blackstrap1 Tbsp172
Spinach, cooked from frozen1 half cup146
Oatmeal, plain and flavored, fortified1 packet or half cup99-110

 

Vitamin D Sources:
FoodServing sizeVitamin D (IU)
Salmon, canned3 oz685
Soymilk, plain, fortified1 cup338
Oatmeal, instant1 packet185
Mushrooms, white, raw1 cup164
Milk1 cup100-200
Cornflakes cereal1 cup40
Egg, large125

No Smoking
Studies have shown that tobacco use contributes to decreased bone density. Additionally, the fracture healing process may take longer and involve more complications for smokers than for nonsmokers. For more information visit: niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/Conditions_Behaviors/bone_smoking.asp

Regular weight bearing exercise
Most health care providers suggest completing at least 30 minutes of exercise each day most days of the week. Weight bearing exercises like walking, hiking, jogging, dancing and weight training force your bones and muscles to work against gravity. Activities such as swimming and bicycling are not weight bearing exercises and though they are beneficial to the cardiovascular system, they are not the best bone building activities.

Weight training, or strength training, includes the use of weights or resistance bands to build muscle. Building muscle in turn strengthens bones by encouraging bone mass development. These exercises and those that improve balance, such as Tai Chi, can help prevent fractures by preventing the falls that often cause them and improving overall bone health. You should check in with your health care provider before starting any new exercise program.

Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis, which means porous bone, is a disease of progressive bone loss. It occurs over time and may show no symptoms until a fracture occurs. One in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will suffer a bone fracture in their lifetime as a result of osteoporosis. Women are at greater risk of osteoporosis due to thinner bone size and the hormonal changes that occur during menopause.

Osteoporosis doesn't have symptoms. Loss of height, curvature of the spine, and a history of fractures are indications. Use of certain medications, smoking, and thyroid disease can put you at greater risk for osteoporosis. Post menopausal women are at greatest risk because the hormone estrogen helps to keep calcium in bones. Men who are inactive are also at increased risk. In addition, people who live in the northeastern US are increased risk due to their reduced exposure the sun, which contributes to vitamin D.

If your doctor suspects you have osteoporosis, he or she may order a Bone Mineral Density Test (BMD). Treatments for osteoporosis may include nutrition, exercise, and therapeutic medications. For more information about osteoporosis, talk to your doctor. You can also learn more at: niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/overview.asp

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