Birthdays and Bone Density: How One Should Remind Us of the Other

A happy heart is good medicine, and a cheerful heart works healing,
but a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 AMP

I love birthdays—my own and everyone else’s.

Call it a hangover from childhood memories and those early traditions, but birthdays are the single day of the whole year when it’s just fun to pick where you want to go (sitting on a warm beach) and what you want to do (sitting on a warm beach with a great book and playing your favorite music), and what you want to eat (sitting on a warm beach with a great book and playing your favorite music while enjoying iced tea plus pizza plus dark chocolate plus …). So, when

I’m trying to decide how to help a friend celebrate their special day, I try to tailor their wants and needs and match everything to them specifically.

In a similar way, every birthday we pass should cue us into thinking about our health—in particular, our bone health. Often, we give very little thought to proactively caring for this aspect of our bodies, but we should.

If you’ve ever wondered what “bone density” means as you age, here’s your answer. At every decade of life, specific changes are occurring.

Here is the best way to keep your bones at their strongest density ever:

TWENTIES: As we age, bodies go through a gradual process of breakdown. In the early twenties, bone density is at its greatest. From that point forward, bone density begins to gradually decline. Therefore, women want to start at the point with the greatest bone density, so that when the breakdown process begins they have a higher starting point from which to decline.

THIRTIES: This means that in the thirties, it is vital to consume the proper amount of calcium and vitamin D. Also, weight-bearing exercises are important to stimulate the formation of strong, dense bones. At this age, the most common injuries are traumatic in nature.

FORTIES: Bone loss now begins to increase at a faster pace. If there is a strong family history of bone related issues, it is important to make one’s primary care physician aware of this fact. Exercise and calcium with vitamin D become even more important. Again, any bone injuries tend to be traumatic in nature.

FIFTIES: In the fifties, osteoporosis can become a real issue. If you have not done a good job of maintaining good bone density, osteoporosis related fractures can begin to occur. Typically, the type of injuries seen are that of wrist and ankle fractures. A bone density scan should be considered at this time.

SIXTIES and SEVENTIES: Here, osteoporosis related problems begin to significantly increase. This is commonly seen in the form of hip, pelvic, and spinal fractures. More aggressive medical treatment such as medication to reduce bone loss should be considered. A follow-up bone density scan should be performed at this point.

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MicheleHoweMichele Howe is the author of twelve books for women and has published over 1600 articles, reviews, and curriculum to more than 100 different publications. Her articles and reviews have been published in Good Housekeeping, First For Women, Single Parent Family, Christian Single, and many other publications. Michele’s single parenting titles include Going It Alone and Still Going It Alone. After having undergone six shoulder surgeries, Michele saw the need for a women’s inspirational health-related book co-authored with her orthopedic surgeon titled, Burdens Do a Body Good: Meeting Life’s Challenges with Strength (and Soul), released in 2010 and from which Prescription for Life, their health, medical and surgical informational book, is based.

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.