Bone density or bone mineral density (BMD) refers to the amount of the inorganic mineral called hydroxylapatite in every cubic centimeter of bones. The condition of the bones may indicate a lot of things including presence of secondary osteoporosis. Aging, particularly of women, is of particular interest yet cases in men and children are similarly common. It may be worthwhile to look into the structure of the bone to understand how bone loss may happen.
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Bones consist of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. The osteoblast is what is responsible for the continuous process of bone cell formation to keep it sturdy and unyielding with weight and pressure, while osteoclast functions in the desorption of old and naturally, weaker bone cells to give room to new ones. The lowering of bone density happens when desorption exceeds bone cell production. This is a likely consequence if an inhibitor blocks the regeneration process in osteoblasts.
One common problem leading to bone loss is the inadequacy of the materials needed in bone regeneration like calcium, vitamin D and other minerals and salts. If the problem is dietary in nature, it can easily be addressed through proper diet and nourishment, and through the use of supplements. Very frequently, dark-skinned people suffer from low bone density because of insufficiency in vitamin D since sunlight is blocked by the melanin pigments of the skin. Activities in osteoclasts and osteoblasts are interfered with pharmacologic drugs like glucocorticoid, drugs for thyroid treatment and the anticonvulsant methotrexate. Hormonal imbalance also causes low bone density such as corticosteroid, thyroid and parathyroid hormones and estrogen. Deficient levels of estrogen (secreted by the female ovaries or converted testosterone in males) that function in building bone mass also induce bone loss. This is unavoidable as all women nearing or have already approached menopause will experience this late in life. For increasing incidence of low bone density on children living in the cities, this is significantly being linked to inactive lifestyle, little exposure to the sun and lack of proper nutrition.
Knowing the causes of low bone density is important for everyone in order to prevent it. However, it is important to stay on top of the situation by gaining knowledge about the different facets of bone loss to have a fighting chance before it gets to you.