Learn About Your Bones


What they are:
An erector set of 206 ever-changing pieces — in fact, we start out with about 231 bones before they fuse during our early years. From the tiny stapes in the inner ear (just one-tenth of an inch long) to the workhorse femur (thigh bone), every bone plays an important role.

What they do:
• Provide form, stability and movement.
• Protect delicate internal organs.

Just for sports fans:
There are 27 bones in the hand, which is the same number of outs a pitcher has to record for a no-hitter on the road.

Growing with you:
Bone marrow creates new blood cells. And, by a process known as remodeling, every bone in the body is completely reformed about every 10 years. The bad news: Bone mass peaks around the age of 30; after that, bone loss increases the chance of fractures. Some 44 million Americans have either low bone mass (osteopenia) or osteoporosis — a whopping 55 percent of people over the age of 50.

Be proactive, get active:
Get plenty of calcium, but don’t sit down on the job. Weight-bearing exercise and vitamin D we absorb from sunlight, both contribute to strong bones. “A 30-minute walk with your dog every day would keep you and your dog healthy, and everyone would be happy,” notes Dr. Richard Marks, professor of orthopaedic surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Family matters:
Women whose mothers or sisters fractured their hips have twice the risk of hip fractures as women whose mothers did not, according to americanbonehealth.com.

It’s a guy thing, too:
By age 65 or 70, men and women lose bone mass at the same rate. Another concern: As we age, both men’s and women’s bodies are less able to absorb calcium.

Learn more:
Bone health, prevention of osteoporosis, screening and treatment options will be discussed at a free event at 6 p.m. April 18, at the Froedtert & MCW Community Conference Center, 8700 Watertown Plank Road, Wauwatosa. To register or get more information, call (414) 805-3666 or email communityeducationregistration@froedterthealth.org.