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You rely on bones and joints to support your body and help you navigate the world. How do your bones grow, and what happens to them over time?

Rheumatologist Chad Deal, MD, Head of the Center for Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disease, explains.

What bones are made of

Bone is densely packed with flexible fibers (termed collagen), hardened by calcium and phosphorus. They are built to withstand great stress from activities like walking, running and jumping.

How bones change as you grow

Bone is a living tissue that constantly renews itself. “Your skeleton is completely new every 10 years,” says Dr. Deal.

In childhood and adolescence, bone buildup outpaces bone removal, or loss.

In your early 20s, the density of minerals in your bones peaks. Your bone mass may stabilize or start slowly declining as bone loss overtakes bone buildup.

What happens as you age

Natural bone loss accelerates at mid-life. This is especially true for menopausal women, ages 55 to 65, as levels of protective estrogen decline.

“For men, the loss is more gradual because testosterone declines slowly,” says Dr. Deal.

But by age 65, the rate of bone loss evens out for men and women. For the rest of your life, bone mass gradually wanes.

When bones start to thin

If bone thinning makes your bone density drop below normal, you have osteopenia. This silent problem usually causes no symptoms.

“However, it is important to remember that most fractures occur in patients with osteopenia — so early identification, prevention and treatment are important,” says Dr. Deal.

If your bone thinning becomes severe, you’ll be diagnosed with osteoporosis. You may develop symptoms such as back pain, a hunched posture and fractures.

How to safeguard your bones

But you can take steps to keep your bones strong and healthy. Here’s how:

  1. Let food fortify your bones. Eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D.
  2. Do weight-bearing exercise. “Heel-strike activities, like walking, will stimulate new bone formation,” says Dr. Deal.
  3. Avoid smoking. Smoking will lower your estrogen levels. “It’s also toxic to your cells,” he notes.
  4. Get DEXA (DXA) tests. Women should get DXA bone density tests starting at age 65 and men starting at age 70. “If you have clinical risk factors for bone loss or fracture, you may need DXA earlier,” advises Dr. Deal.
  5. Take medication, if needed. If you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, certain medications can slow bone loss.
  6. Take care of other health issues. Get the care you need for thyroid disorders, parathyroid disorders or any other health condition that affects your bone density.

SOURCE: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-do-your-bones-change-over-time/

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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Dear Patients:

Our patients, employees and family are our top priority at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

We ask you to not visit any of our locations if you have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and possible shortness of breath.

Please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once you are feeling better and are no longer suffering with symptoms.

Only non-symptomatic patients will be seen. No exceptions.

Accompanying family members – including children – are asked to remain in the waiting area and will not be allowed to enter the exam rooms.

During this time of high concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are taking extra precautions to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and cleanliness. Please be advised that we are carefully following recommendations from both the CDC and WHO and are here to help guide you through this time if needed.

Some steps we are taking to keeping safe:

  1. We know how important cleanliness is and always maintain the highest standards of cleanliness. To further offer you peace of mind, we have increased the frequency of the cleaning of our office.
  2. Rest assured that hand washing is strictly followed. Hand sanitizer is available to all staff and patients.
  3. Additionally, if you have recently traveled to a country with high rates of the coronavirus or have been on a cruise, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your return date. We will gladly accommodate your needs to reschedule. At that time, a telehealth interface can be arranged if necessary.

Find up-to-date and accurate information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and feel free to reach out with questions.

- Your team at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

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