By printing and/or reading this article, you agree that you accept all terms and conditions of use, as specified online.

Skeletal System

BonesYour bones perform a number of essential functions. They support and protect your internal organs. They act as levers and braces for your muscles to help you move. They also produce and store blood cells in the bone marrow. Although we may think of bones as being static, bones are actually living, growing tissue. Throughout a person's lifetime, old bone is removed (resorption) and new bone is added to the skeleton (formation). Normally, during childhood and the teenage years, new bone is added faster than old bone is removed.

According to the National Institutes of Health, three types of tissue can combine to make up mature bones:

A layer of cartilage covers subchondral tissue to cushion the movement of joints.

It is never too early or too late to take care of your bones. There are many things we can do to keep our bones healthy and strong. Eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D (Read about "Calcium" "Vitamins & Minerals"), getting plenty of exercise (Read about "Getting Started on Fitness"), and having good health habits help keep our bones healthy.

Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products, and foods and drinks with added calcium. Good sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver and milk with vitamin D. Some people may need to take nutritional supplements in order to get enough calcium and vitamin D. Fruits and vegetables also contribute other nutrients that are important for bone health. (Read about "Dietary Guidelines")

But if we don't eat right and don't get enough of the right kinds of exercise, our bones can become weak and even break. Broken bones (Read about "Bone Fractures") can be painful and sometimes need surgery to heal. They can also cause long-lasting health problems.

Talk to your doctor about your bone health. Go over your risk factors with your doctor and ask if you should get a bone density test. (Read about "DEXA Scan - Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry/Densitometry") If you need it, your doctor can order medicine to help prevent bone loss and reduce your chances of breaking a bone.

You can follow the links below to learn more about conditions and diseases of the bones.

Avascular necrosis: see Osteonecrosis

Bone cancer: see Bone Cancer

Bone cyst, unicameral: see Bone Tumors - Benign

Bone fractures: see Bone Fractures

Bone loss, kidney disease: see Bone Loss & Kidney Disease

Bone loss, osteoporosis: see Osteoporosis

Bone tumors, cancerous: see Bone Cancer

Bone tumors, non-cancerous: see Bone Tumors - Benign

Calcium, osteoporosis: see Calcium and Osteoporosis

Cancer, bone: see Bone Cancer

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM): see The Spine

Chest tumors: see Chest Tumors

Chondrosarcoma: see Bone Cancer

Clubfoot: see Clubfoot

Craniofacial Disorders: see Craniofacial Disorders

Curvature of the spine: see Curvature of the Spine

Cyst, spinal: see The Spine

DEXA scan: see DEXA Scan

Ewing's sarcoma: see Bone Cancer

Fibrous dysplasia: see Bone Tumors - Benign

Fractures: see Bone Fractures

Giant cell tumor: see Bone Tumors - Benign

Hip fracture: see Hip Fracture

Hypercalcemia: see Hypercalcemia

Hyperparathyroidism: see Parathyroid Glands

Ischemic necrosis: see Osteonecrosis

Joint replacement: see Joint Replacement

Joint resurfacing: see Joint Resurfacing

Kidney disease, bone loss: see Bone Loss & Kidney Disease

Kyphosis: see Curvature of the Spine

Leukemia: see Leukemia

Multiple myeloma: see Multiple Myeloma and Plasmacytoma

Orthopedics: see Orthopedics

Osgood-Schlatter disease: see The Knee

Osteoarthritis: see Osteoarthritis

Osteochondritis dissecans, knee: see The Knee

Osteochondroma: see Bone Tumors - Benign

Osteodystrophy, renal: see Bone Loss and Kidney Disease

Osteoid osteomas: see Bone Tumors - Benign

Osteomalacia: see Osteomalacia and Rickets

Osteonecrosis: see Osteonecrosis

Osteopenia: see Osteoporosis

Osteopetrosis: see Osteopetrosis

Osteoporosis: see Osteoporosis

Osteosarcoma: see Bone Cancer

Paget's disease of bone: see Paget's Disease of Bone

Physical therapy: see Rehabilitation

Plasmacytoma: see Multiple Myeloma and Plasmacytoma

Replacement, joint: see Joint Replacement

Resurfacing, joint: see Joint Resurfacing

Rickets: see Osteomalacia and Rickets

Scheuermann's Disease: see Curvature of the Spine

Scoliosis: see Curvature of the Spine

Spondylolysis, spondylolisthesis: see The Spine

Stress fractures: see Bone Fractures

Tumors, non-cancerous: see Bone Tumors - Benign

Ultrasound: see Ultrasound

Unicameral bone cyst: see Bone Tumors - Benign

All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.

© Concept Communications Media Group LLC

Online health topics reviewed/modified in 2020 | Terms of Use/Privacy Policy

By printing and/or reading this article, you agree that you accept all terms and conditions of use, as specified online.