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KEEPING YOUR OSTEOPOROSIS UNDER CONTROL

Learn about Secondary Osteoporosis

What is Bone Remodeling?

Just like your skin, your bones are made of living tissue that is constantly being refreshed by a gradual process of breaking down old bone and replacing it with new. Two different types of cells perform this action: ostcoclasts, which break down old bone, and osteoblasts, which build up new bone using calcium from your diet. This continuous process is called bone remodeling.

Bone remodeling is a constant process that begins in infancy and continues throughout your life. In fact, between 10% and 30% of the adult skeleton is actually replenished each year. That's why it's so important to get enough calcium in your diet from childhood on.

In adulthood, bone tissue is likely to break down faster than it can be rebuilt. For women, this is especially true after menopause. The decreased estrogen levels resulting from the hormonal changes of menopause make the difference between bone breakdown and rebuilding even greater.  In fact, during the first five years after menopause, some women may lose as much as 25% of their hone density.

This condition, in which bones may. become weaker and more "brittle," is called osteoporosis.  As osteoporosis progresses, bones break more easily.

To help limit bone loss, it's important to get enough calcium in your diet and to exercise regularly. For many women, adding medication to their bone-health plan can actually help build lost bone mass and protect against broken bones.

SOLID FACTS ON BONE HEALTH

Exercise is one sure way of improving your bone health.  If you're finding it hard to get into an exercise routine, try:

  • Joining a class, such as aerobics or dancing.  Here's your opportunity to try something new and fun.

  • Exercising with your spouse or a friend.  Your workout can be as good for your social life as your bones.

  • Using home equipment, such as a treadmill or stair climber.  You can watch the news or listen to music while you exercise.