Osteoporosis and Calcium
Osteoporosis and Calcium Overview
Calcium is an important nutrient and is needed for many of the body's functions, including blood clotting and the proper function of the heart, muscles, and nerves. Calcium is also critical for the health and strength of bones. Not getting enough calcium can contribute to the development of osteoporosis (porous bones).
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by bones that are thin and fragile and can break (fracture) easily. People with osteoporosis have low bone mass, and low bone mass can result in bone fractures.
Having enough calcium intake in the diet is essential in helping to prevent osteoporosis and helping to prevent the loss of bone mass.
Calcium alone cannot protect a person from bone loss caused by certain medications or diseases, smoking, alcoholism, not enough exercise, or a lack of estrogen. Calcium does help a person maintain healthy bones, though, and it helps children and adolescents grow strong bones. However, only 50%-60% of adults and only 10%-25% of adolescents in the United States get the recommended amount of calcium.
Coburn Hobar, MD
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