If you have osteoporosis or think you might have osteoporosis, call your health care provider to be evaluated. Sooner is better than later -- especially if you have unusual or sharp pain or other related symptoms or if you have anxiety about osteoporosis. Also if you're at high risk of osteoporosis but haven't been diagnosed yet, talk to your health care provider. Getting treatment early can save you from painful, disfiguring fractures and future disability.
If you are taking osteoporosis drugs...
Osteoporosismedications and physical activity can tip the balance of bone remodeling, preserving bone strength. How does bone remodeling work? What can be done to slow down or reverse bone loss? Read on to learn what you can do to keep your bones healthy and strong.
Bone Remodeling: A Never-Ending Improvement Project
"People think bones are static, but in fact bone is constantly growing and being resorbed," says Mary Zoe Baker, MD, an endocrinologist and professor of medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. "It has to, in order to heal damage and microfractures" that occur with normal wear and tear, says Baker.
The process of bone remodeling is a give-and-take between two opposing forces, replacing old bone with new bone.
Bone loss (resorption): Special cells called osteoclasts break down bone. They are like a demolition crew. When the signal comes, osteoclasts are recruited to enter the bones and secrete enzymes that break down collagen and minerals. Somehow, they know just when to stop to avoid damaging the bone.
Bone growth:Special cells called osteoblasts line the surface of bones. In response to signals in the blood, the osteoblasts get to work. They lay down bone, by depositing calcium and phosphate crystals on a scaffolding of collagen.
In healthy bone, the processes of growth and resorption are equalized. Various hormones, including estrogen in women, help keep this balance.