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'Dem Bones, 'Dem Bones: Keeping Your Bones Healthy with Age

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'Dem Bones, 'Dem Bones: Keeping Your Bones Healthy with Age

Bone health has always been a lesson most incessantly repeated during childhood. “Drink your milk so you can have strong bones.” A notion that should have followed us into adulthood. As we get older we stop heeding such health advice, but bone health is vital to the health of our entire bodies. Bones protect the brain, heart and other organs from injury. They also store minerals such as phosphorus and calcium, keeping the bones themselves strong and also distributing them to the rest of the body when needed.

Bones continuously change. New bone is made while old bone gets broken down. When we are young, this process is much faster and new bone is created much quicker than it breaks down into old bone, thus increasing your bone mass. After the age of 30 however, you may begin to lose bone mass as new bone creation slows down.

There are several factors that affect bone health:

  • Calcium in your diet

  • Physical activity

  • Tobacco and alcohol use

  • Sex

  • Size or body mass

  • Age

  • Race and genetics.

  • Hormone levels

  • Medications


Too much, or not enough of what your bones need can lead to what is called osteoporosis– a condition that causes bones to become brittle and weak. A lack of calcium and Vitamin D are major contributors to this condition as well as inactivity, medication, body mass or how much new bone is “in the bank” of your body and several others. Women have less bone tissue than men and you are more likely to develop osteoporosis if you are white or of Asian descent. In addition, if a parent or sibling has osteoporosis, you are at a higher risk of developing it yourself (Mayo Clinic, 2019).

Mayo Clinic offers these tips on keeping bones healthy at each stage in life:


A calcium rich diet

“Drink your milk so you can have strong bones,” wasn’t a frivolous piece of advice growing up. Dairy products are good sources of calcium. Other calcium packed foods include almonds, broccoli, kale and soy (beans, tofu, etc.). Adults ages 19 to 50 should include 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. The dose increases to 1,200 milligrams a day for women over the age of 51 and men aged 71 and up.


Watch your vitamin D intake

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, so in addition to having a calcium rich diet, making sure you have a healthy intake of vitamin D is also important. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D for adults 19-70 is 600 international units daily (IUs). That recommendation increases to 800 IUs for adults over the age of 71.

You can find vitamin D in oil fish like salmon, trout, whitefish and tuna. Mushrooms, eggs, milks and cereals are also good sources of vitamin D. And don’t forget about sunlight, which contributes to the body’s production of vitamin D. Talk to your healthcare provider if you feel you may be having trouble getting enough vitamin D and ask them about vitamin D screening, available through our Health and Wellness Screenings services at CCH.


Get active

Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, and climbing stairs, can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss (Mayo Clinic, 2019).


Always consult your provider

As we get older we encounter more concerns about our health. If you’re concerned about your bone health or risk of developing osteoporosis, consult with your healthcare provider. At CCH our healthcare providers are brimming with knowledge, while dedicating their lives to high-quality, compassionate care.

If you are concerned about your bone health, visit your healthcare provider to talk about what steps you can take and how to maintain bone health moving forward. Visit our website for information or give us a call at 307.688.3636



Bone Health for Life: Health Information Basics for You and Your Family | NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. (2018, April).

Mayo Clinic. (2019). How to keep your bones healthy. Mayo Clinic.