How to have Healthy Bones – Part I

Much like every other part of the body, until we fall and break a bone or have a fracture of some kind we don’t give our bones a second thought.

Over the next few weeks I will be going into in depth detail re your bone health because it is something you ABSOLUTELY need to pay attention to, today, not when you have gone through the menopause or discover upon lifting something or upon falling that you have weak brittle bones. It may be too late then.

Also bone health is just as important for men as it is for women especially in recent times as our lifestyles have changed so much. In the past due to the physical heavy workload of farming, gardening, hunting, building etc. everyone was much more active as part of their daily routine. These days there is a gadget for everything and remote controls so we don’t have to move our butt like we did before. (Yes I do remember having to get up to change the TV channel).  Society has changed a lot, some for the better, a lot for the worst but sedentary lifestyles now mean we have to work harder to ensure our bones remain strong and healthy until the day we die.

First let’s go through the basics of what your bones actually do and what they are made up of. Your bones and joints make up what is known as the skeletal system of the body. The body has 206 bones. The function of the skeletal system is to support the body. With the exception of cartilage and bone all other body tissues are soft so without the skeletal system you would be a pile of mush on the floor :-).

The bones are there to provide body shape and structure. It allows for and enables movement, the skeletal system protects delicate body organs e.g. the cranium or skull is a hard helmet like shell which protects the brain, it helps to form blood cells, (red blood cells in the red bone marrow), it forms joints which are essential for specific movements, the bone framework provides attachments for muscles which move the joints, muscles are attached to bone and this allows them to be pulled and moved in various positions allowing you to freely move your body. The bones provide a store of calcium salts and phosphorus.

Bones are living tissue made from special cells called osteoblasts. The tissue varies in its density depending upon the part of the body and its function. The closer to the surface of the actual bone the greater its compactness. Many bones have a central cavity containing marrow. Marrow is a tissue which is the source of most of the cells of the blood and is also a storage place for fats. There are two main types of bone tissue.

  1. Compact bone… to the naked eye looks like a solid structure but under a micro-scope looks like honeycomb. Through these holes pass blood vessels, lymph capillaries and nerves which run right through the tissue. Compact bone is found on the outside of most bones and is the shaft of long bones such as your femur ( upper leg/thigh bone)
  2. Cancellous Bone… This looks like a sponge and it is found at the ends of long bones and can be flat or irregular in shape.

Join me next week where we look more in depth what you can do to take care of your bones…