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COMBATING OSTEOPOROSIS Twenty years ago osteoporosis was a word used mainly by researchers and physicians Over the past few years there has been an explosion of information about this condition that can cause severe pain and crippling No cure is known yet but ways to lessen your potential for osteoporosis have been identified Today one in three Americans are 50 or older The baby boom generation will begin to enter their retirement shortly after the turn of the century that is rapidly approaching Thanks in part to medical advances and the emphasis on exercise and healthy diets vast numbers of these baby boomers can expect to reach their eighties nineties and beyond Yet if present day trends unhealthy eating and lack of exercise continues osteoporosis threatens to be one of the biggest public health dangers of modern times Osteoporosis literally meaning porous bone is a disease of the skeleton in which the amount of calcium present slowly decreases to the point where the bones become extremely brittle and subject to fractures The skeleton serves two functions It provides structural support for organs and muscles and also serves as a depository for the bodys calcium and other minerals manly phosphorous and magnesium The bone holds 99 of the bodys calcium The other 1- of remaining calcium is freed to circulate in the blood and is essential for crucial functions in the body such as blood clotting muscle contractions and nerve functions Bones have two main sections The outer section of the bone is the cortical bone It is composed of a hard shell that serves to protect the other section of the bone called the trabecular bone This part of the bone is an inner lacy structural matrix of calcium that helps support the bone structure Bone tissue is constantly being broken down and reformed to help the body cope with everyday stress and for maintaining a properly functioning body
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