SICK S2 • E5

What Happens When Bone Regeneration Goes Wrong





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Published on Aug 13, 2019

When something goes wrong in the body’s bone-forming process, your bones can get weaker and the results can be shattering.
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Your skeleton has the difficult task of being strong and hard enough to hold your whole body up, but bendy and shock-absorbing enough not to shatter upon minor impact.

On this episode of SICK, we sit down with Dr. Suneela Vegunta, a women’s health provider with Mayo Clinic, to discuss what happens when the formation of healthy bones is interrupted.

Healthy bone looks like a honeycomb. The bones are a matrix of flexible collagen protein with harder minerals, calcium and phosphate, laid down on top—so it naturally has little gaps in it. But if something interrupts the formation of healthy bone, the gaps get bigger, like in osteoporosis, which literally means ‘porous bone.’

Bones are a living, dynamic tissue, constantly regenerating themselves to stay healthy. This is called bone remodeling, and occurs throughout our entire lives—in fact, approximately every ten years, your entire skeleton has been replaced with new, healthy bone...thanks to specialized cells.

A few essential ingredients are necessary to keep this bone-forming process in balance, mainly calcium. Your whole body relies on calcium in some form or another, so when you are not consuming enough calcium, your body will cannibalize the calcium it needs and it will take it from your bones.

All kinds of things can impair your body’s ability to absorb calcium: too much protein, salt, acid, and/or caffeine in your diet can all block the absorption of calcium for use in building healthy bones. So can habits that are bad for your body in many ways, like smoking. So healthy bones start with a healthy lifestyle that builds up our bone density as much as we can.

Here’s the thing: Osteoporosis has no symptoms. So you won’t know that you have osteoporosis until your bone fractures when it shouldn’t, a.k.a. a fragility fracture.

Learn more about osteoporosis and how to keep your bones healthy on this episode of SICK.
#Health #Bones #Osteoporosis #Seeker #Sick #Science
SICK is a new series that looks at how diseases actually work inside our body. We'll be visiting medical centers and talking to top researchers and doctors to uncover the mysteries of viruses, bacteria, fungi and our own immune system. Come back every Tuesday for a new episode and let us know in the comments which diseases you think we should cover next.

Read More:
Calcium intake and bone mineral density

Exercise interventions: defusing the world's osteoporosis time bomb

The Basics of Bone in Health and Disease
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