While you may notice that bone health becomes more of a concern for older women, bone strength actually peaks in women around the age of 30-35. Beyond 35 years of age, your body stops producing new bone. If not enough bone mass is created during this “building” stage, you can have an increased risk of having weaker bones. Weak bones puts you at risk for bone fractures, and who wants to deal with a broken wrist at any stage of life?
What the ‘F’ is bone health?
Having healthy bones essentially means that you have bones that are strong and dense. They can handle a fall and are have an adequate amount of bone mass. This is important for many reasons, one being the obvious protective benefit. Bones play a key role in your health and safety – from your skull protecting your brain to your ribs housing your lungs. So, strong bones means having protection against injury.
Another key role that bones play is storing calcium, a mineral that plays a key role in body functions like your heart beat and muscle contraction. If you do not have enough calcium in your blood to perform these functions, your body will “pull” calcium from your bones. Having ample calcium stores helps reduce the risk of your bones becoming depleted and weak if your stores are being used to help keep your ticker ticking.
Why Does Bone Health Matter to Younger People?
Our bones are literally our support and allows us to move and stand up straight. If our bones become weak, we run the risk of dealing with outcomes like losing height, dealing with compression fractures, and being at a higher risk for bone fractures. Yes, these outcomes occur more frequently in the older population, but it is important to know that these risk factors can be reduced by taking small steps when you are younger.
Bones are constantly being built up and broken down depending on your body’s needs. While bone formation typically occurs at a faster rate as the removal until the age of 30-35, taking poor care of your bone health by not eating the right foods and not properly exercising can cause this pace to slow. Over time, if the removal happens at a faster rate as the new bone creation, a condition called osteoporosis can occur. With osteoporosis, bones become extremely weak and brittle. While a tiny wrist fracture may be no big deal, managing a hip or spine fracture can be very challenging and painful. While osteoporosis is the more common in older people, it can sometimes appear in premenopausal women in their 20s and 30s.
Focusing on your bone health at a younger age is key to maintaining strong bones throughout your lifetime. All women should focus on their bone health, but certain populations are more at-risk for developing osteoporosis than others, including:
- Those with a genetic predisposition to have weaker bones, as genetics is responsible for more than half of your bone density and quality
- Those who take certain medications, like thyroid medications
- Those who have had breast cancer treatment.
The bright side to all of this is that, even if you are more at-risk of developing osteoporosis, you have the power to create changes within your body and bones that will decrease your risks and can keep your bones healthier longer. There are things each and every one of us must do to support bone health and love our bones, including:
- Eating foods rich in certain nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium
- Participating in weight-bearing exercise
- Limiting alcohol consumption
Weak bones is common – approximately half of all Americans suffer from it. Especially if you have a family history of osteoporosis or have a diagnosis of certain cancers like breast cancer, taking small steps to support your bone health can play a huge role in your health and well-being later in life. Like the old saying goes…an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Have you currently been diagnosed with breast cancer? You’re going to want to learn more about what you can do to love your bones even more.