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Your bones perform a number of essential functions. They support and protect your internal organs. They act as levers and braces for your muscles to help you move. They also produce and store blood cells in the bone marrow. Although we may think of bones as being static, bones are actually living, growing tissue. Throughout a person's lifetime, old bone is removed (resorption) and new bone is added to the skeleton (formation). Normally, during childhood and the teenage years, new bone is added faster than old bone is removed.
According to the National Institutes of Health, three types of tissue can combine to make up mature bones:
A layer of cartilage covers subchondral tissue to cushion the movement of joints.
It is never too early or too late to take care of your bones. There are many things we can do to keep our bones healthy and strong. Eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D (Read about "Calcium" "Vitamins & Minerals"), getting plenty of exercise (Read about "Getting Started on Fitness"), and having good health habits help keep our bones healthy.
Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products, and foods and drinks with added calcium. Good sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver and milk with vitamin D. Some people may need to take nutritional supplements in order to get enough calcium and vitamin D. Fruits and vegetables also contribute other nutrients that are important for bone health. (Read about "Dietary Guidelines")
But if we don't eat right and don't get enough of the right kinds of exercise, our bones can become weak and even break. Broken bones (Read about "Bone Fractures") can be painful and sometimes need surgery to heal. They can also cause long-lasting health problems.
Talk to your doctor about your bone health. Go over your risk factors with your doctor and ask if you should get a bone density test. (Read about "DEXA Scan - Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry/Densitometry") If you need it, your doctor can order medicine to help prevent bone loss and reduce your chances of breaking a bone.
You can follow the links below to learn more about conditions and diseases of the bones.
Avascular necrosis: see Osteonecrosis
Bone cancer: see Bone Cancer
Bone cyst, unicameral: see Bone Tumors - Benign
Bone fractures: see Bone Fractures
Bone loss, kidney disease: see Bone Loss & Kidney Disease
Bone loss, osteoporosis: see Osteoporosis
Bone tumors, cancerous: see Bone Cancer
Bone tumors, non-cancerous: see Bone Tumors - Benign
Calcium, osteoporosis: see Calcium and Osteoporosis
Cancer, bone: see Bone Cancer
Chest tumors: see Chest Tumors
Chondrosarcoma: see Bone Cancer
Clubfoot: see Clubfoot
Craniofacial Disorders: see Craniofacial Disorders
Curvature of the spine: see Curvature of the Spine
DEXA scan: see DEXA Scan
Ewing's sarcoma: see Bone Cancer
Fibrous dysplasia: see Bone Tumors - Benign
Fractures: see Bone Fractures
Giant cell tumor: see Bone Tumors - Benign
Hip fracture: see Hip Fracture
Hypercalcemia: see Hypercalcemia
Hyperparathyroidism: see Parathyroid Glands
Ischemic necrosis: see Osteonecrosis
Joint replacement: see Joint Replacement
Kidney disease, bone loss: see Bone Loss & Kidney Disease
Kyphosis: see Curvature of the Spine
Leukemia: see Leukemia
Multiple myeloma: see Multiple Myeloma and Plasmacytoma
Orthopedics: see Orthopedics
Osgood-Schlatter disease: see The Knee
Osteoarthritis: see Osteoarthritis
Osteochondritis dissecans, knee: see The Knee
Osteochondroma: see Bone Tumors - Benign
Osteodystrophy, renal: see Bone Loss and Kidney Disease
Osteoid osteomas: see Bone Tumors - Benign
Osteomalacia: see Osteomalacia and Rickets
Osteonecrosis: see Osteonecrosis
Osteopenia: see Osteoporosis
Osteopetrosis: see Osteopetrosis
Osteoporosis: see Osteoporosis
Osteosarcoma: see Bone Cancer
Paget's disease of bone: see Paget's Disease of Bone
Physical therapy: see Rehabilitation
Plasmacytoma: see Multiple Myeloma and Plasmacytoma
Rickets: see Osteomalacia and Rickets
Scheuermann's Disease: see Curvature of the Spine
Scoliosis: see Curvature of the Spine
Spondylolysis, spondylolisthesis: see The Spine
Stress fractures: see Bone Fractures
Tumors, non-cancerous: see Bone Tumors - Benign
Ultrasound: see Ultrasound
Unicameral bone cyst: see Bone Tumors - Benign
All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.
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