Do you ever wonder why our bones become fragile as we age? Our bones consist of living tissue and throughout our life our body replaces old bone with new bone to build and maintain strong bones in a process known as bone remodeling. When we’re young, our body can build new bone faster than it breaks down allowing us to increase bone mass. Around the age of thirty, our bones peak reaching their maximum bone size and strength. After we reach our peak bone mass, we start to lose more bone mass than we gain. As a result, our bones become weak placing them at a higher risk for injury.

As we age, losing some bone is normal, but if we lose too much our body can develop osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a common bone disorder where bones become brittle and fracture easily with mild stresses on the body. Osteoporosis affects men and women and the risk increases with age. Other common risk factors include a family history of osteoporosis, calcium and vitamin D deficiency, body frame size, and certain prescription medications that can accelerate bone loss. A bone density test is a way to screen for osteoporosis. This test can measure the strength of your bones and is generally recommended for women around the age of 65 and anyone with a higher risk of bone fracture.

Virginia Aparicio is a health and human sciences educator with Purdue Extension Elkhart County. She can be reached at 574-533-0554 or

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