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Osteoporosis and Your Bones

Bones Are Continually Changing

Your bones are not like the dry white bones you see in skeletons at Halloween. Bones are made up of living tissue; every cell in your bones is alive, and they are continually changing. Old dead cells are carried away and replaced by new healthy cells. The cells that carry old bone away are called osteoclasts. The cells that replace old bone with new are called osteoblasts.

How Aging Affects Change
When you were a child, your bones grew rapidly. In fact, children only need about two years to completely replace their bone cells. Bones continue to grow in density through your late 20s. At that time, the amount of old cells removed and new healthy cells replacing them were about the same. This keeps a healthy “bone bank account.”

In your mid-30s, however, the removal and replacement of cells can begin to get out of balance. Unlike children, the adult body can take seven to 10 years to replace all the bone cells. As you continue to age, your body becomes less capable of replacing the cells that were lost, and thus the bones become thinner. Bone loss is normal, and not everyone will develop osteoporosis. If you have osteoporosis, you have a negative bone balance in your bone bank account.

Did You Know?
The interior of your bones are made up of bone fibers that crisscross each other in layers. The fibers are precisely aligned to carry the forces of tension and compression. This allows your bones to be both lightweight and strong. 

Quick Reference

Orthopaedic Services

New Patients 336-716-WAKE
Toll-Free 888-716-WAKE
Returning Patients
Returning Pediatric Patients

Contact the Department

Main 336-716-8200
Fax 336-716-8018

For assistance after hours, please call 336-716-2011 and ask for the Orthopaedic Surgeon on call.
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Last Updated: 06-23-2016
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.

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