According to National Osteoporosis Foundation (2017), bone tissue is alive and growing. It undergoes changes in different life stages. As the bones mature, they gradually replace the 300 soft ones at birth with hard ones (Iofbonehealth.org). Through the years, old bones or soft ones are removed through resorption and replaced with new bone (formation) by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (2016). According to National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal Skin Diseases resorption, or the breaking down of bones can be used as a source of calcium and/or phosphorus for those who are deficient in these minerals. When the body has enough calcium and/or phosphorus in the diet, remodeling’s formation phase can help replenish skeleton reserves. Remodeling can help repair skeleton damage from repeated stress. For example, the stress that collegiate athletes put on their muscles and bones.

Remodeling is the process of removing and replacing the bone at the same location (osteoclast). It also allows the formation of new bones and the removal of the old ones from other sites within the bone. Modeling allows the formation of new bones at one site while removing old ones from another within the bone (osteoblast). (National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal Diseases and Skin Diseases 2016, National Institute of Arthritis). Modeling is the primary response to bone weakening that occurs in the older years. Although remodeling occurs most often in early childhood or early adolescence, it also occurs more frequently in the younger years. Healthy bones have well-connected bands or plates, which provide strength. When osteoporosis is present or the bones are dysfunctional, these bands become thinner and weaker.

The rods are no longer connected to the bone and do not contribute to its strength. Bone formation is most prominent during childhood and teenage years. Bones continue to grow, becoming heavier, denser, and larger. Bone resorption is not as strong until bone formation reaches peak mass (maximum strength and bone density). This occurs usually in the mid-20s. The result is that bone resorption starts to gradually exceed the formation of new bones. Unfortunately, osteoporosis is only a problem when the bone resorption or replacement happens too slowly. Osteoporosis (also known as “porous” bone) is the structural deterioration of bones that can lead to fractures of the wrist, hip and spine. Viewed under a magnifying glass, healthy bones look like honeycombs. In osteoporosis, however, the spaces and holes in a honeycomb become much larger. Weak bones and brittle bones can be a sign of osteoporosis. These bones have an abnormal tissue composition and are weak and fragile. Furthermore, bones that lose their bone density become more fragile, weaker, and more likely break. Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose their strength and density due to the body producing too little bone. This disease is severe enough that bones can break as a result of a simple slip, sneezing and even bumping up against a table, chair, etc. (National Osteoporosis Foundation 2017.

According to International Osteoporosis Foundation estimates, osteoporosis is caused by low bones mass and affects approximately 44 million U.S. adults aged 50 or older. Osteoporosis and low bone mass affect 55 percent (44 million) of adults 50 years old or older. Osteoporosis is most commonly associated with hip fractures, wrist fractures and spine fractures. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Dermatological Diseases, 2016. Osteoporosis may even result in a permanent reduction of height. The spine is affected by osteoporosis, causing a reduction in height. A senior who falls and breaks a hip due to osteoporosis is 20 percent more likely to die of complications within a single year of the injury.

According to National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases in 2016, age, gender, ethnicity and history of family are all osteoporosis risk factors (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases 2016. The age is a factor in osteoporosis because it increases with age. Ethnicity can be a factor, as statistics show that Caucasian and Asians women are at a higher risk of osteoporosis compared to African American and Hispanics women. Families with a history or osteoporosis may also be at risk. Gender plays a major role in the progression of osteoporosis. Women, who have smaller bone structure than men, are more likely to get osteoporosis.

Diet also plays a major role in osteoporosis. Around 99% calcium is located in bone. It plays an important structural role for bone. A person’s risk of developing osteoporosis can be increased if they consume too little calcium or vitamin D (Iofbonehealth.org 2017, 2017). Flynn’s study found that insufficient calcium consumption during the first years of life can negatively impact bone growth. Calcium requirements are based on the bone-building and -maintenance needs that vary with age. The demand for dietary calcium increases during rapid growth periods, such as during childhood, adolescence and pregnancy, and also in older age groups (Flynn).

According to an updated study of the role played by vitamin D, calcium absorption is impossible without vitamin D. A lack of vitamin D prevents the body from producing enough active vitamin-D, calcitriol. In both the young and older population, higher Vitamin D levels correlate with greater bone density. Vitamin D plays a vital role in the health and growth of bones. A lack of vitamin D can lead to soft or fragile bone, which may cause osteoporosis. An adequate intake of vitamin D and calcium is necessary to prevent the development of soft or fractured bones. These are known as rickets and ostemalacia respectively in adults and children.



Kian Stafford is a 39 year old educational blogger and school teacher. He has been teaching for over 10 years and has worked in a variety of different positions. Kian has an extensive knowledge of education, both online and in-person, and has written extensively on education topics. He is also a member of several education organizations, and has been involved in many educational initiatives.