Not Too Late to Reduce Risk of Fragile Bones
Fragile bones can happen because of poor nutrition or medical problems. Known as osteoporosis, porous bones are a silent problem that is often preventable. Many people do not know that they have tiny holes in their bones until they break (fracture) a bone.
Low bone mass is considered a major public health threat. As many as 55 percent of people age 50 and older have lower than the recommended bone mass. Many older people die within one year of breaking a hip. Bone loss in the spine can cause severe pain, loss of height, and stooped posture.
The best time to build bone mass is from infancy through the young adult years. However, many children in their growth years avoid milk products, fish, vegetables or other calcium sources. Some fear weight gain or prefer junk food, lattes or colas. Many adults start losing bone by age 30.
Both women and men are at risk of osteoporosis. Older women who lose estrogen after menopause have a very high risk.
Illness can lead to bone loss. Chronic health problems, such as digestion problems or eating disorders, can leave people at risk for bone loss. Some medicine or treatments, like chemotherapy for cancer, can make bones fragile. People who are ill and don't get enough exercise or sunshine can also be at risk. Skin that is exposed to sunlight produces vitamin D, which is needed for the body to absorb calcium.