Think of your bones as a bank. You make ‘deposits’ and ‘withdrawals’ of bone tissue in this bone bank. This is why, the living tissue of bones change constantly; the old ones get removed and replaced by new bone.
More ‘deposits’ are made during childhood and adolescence, marking the growth of skeleton in terms of size and density. The amount of bone tissue in the skeleton is known as bone mass. This tissue can grow until around age 30 which marks the maximum bone strength and density, known as peak bone mass.
Youth is the best time to invest in one’s bone health because up to 90% of peak bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and age 20 in boys. After the age 30 and between menopause, there is minimal change in total bone mass in women.
Most women experience a rapid bone mass loss during the first few years after menopause, which then slows down during the later postmenopausal years. This loss of bone mass can lead to osteoporosis. To avoid the risk of developing osteoporosis, it is better to pay more attention to those factors that affect peak bone mass. According to the National
Osteoporosis Foundation, women belonging to the following groups are at a greater risk of peak bone mass:
The hormone estrogen has an effect on peak bone mass. For example, women who had their first menstrual cycle at an early age and those who use oral contraceptives - which contain estrogen - often have high bone mineral density. In contrast, young women whose menstrual periods stop due to extremely low body weight or excessive exercise, for example, may lose significant amounts of bone density, which may not be recovered even after their periods return.
Calcium is an essential nutrient for bone health. Calcium deficiencies in young people can account for a 5 to 10 percent difference in peak bone mass and can increase the risk for hip fracture later in life. Surveys indicate that teenage girls in the United States are less likely than teenage boys to get enough calcium. In fact, less than 10 percent of girls ages 9 to 17 are actually getting the calcium they need each day.
The oestrogen levels in menopausal women drop leading to bone loss. For some women, this loss can be rapid and severe.
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Read more articles on Osteoporosis in Women.
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