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Health Library

Building Better Bones

Close to 34 million americans are estimated to have low bone mass, placing them at risk for developing osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and may easily break. While osteoporosis
can occur at any age, the disease most commonly affects older women.

“Bones are constantly changing and as older bone material is removed, new bone material is formed,” says Linda Heflin, M.D., family medicine physician on the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville. “After age 30, however, your body makes less bone mass, resulting in more bone loss. A small amount of bone loss is normal after age 35, but when it becomes excessive the result is osteoporosis.”

Preventing osteoporosis is essential, as it is difficult for older women to increase their bone mass. Women can help stop the onset of osteoporosis by consuming adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, which can be found in fortified milk, dairy products and fortified cereals.

“Weight-bearing exercises such as step aerobics or weight training favor bone formation and provide stronger muscles to support and protect the bones,” says Dr. Heflin. “Staying active is one of the most important steps we can take to promote healthier bones and bodies.”

One of the best ways to determine if your body is losing bone mass is with a bone mineral density test. For information about bone density tests at Texas Health hospitals, visit TexasHealth.org/BoneTest or call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355).

(Spring 2010)

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