What Is Bone Loss (cont.)
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What Is Bone Made Of?
Bone is made mostly of collagen, a protein that is woven into a flexible framework. Bone also contains calcium phosphate and calcium carbonate, minerals that add strength and harden the framework. The combination of calcium and collagen gives the bone its strength and flexibility. The flexibility (or ability to withstand stress) of the bone protects it from breaking. Bone is strong because of calcium, but bone also acts like a storehouse for calcium. In fact, more than 99% of the body's calcium is contained in the bones and teeth. The remaining 1% is in the blood.
Even though it is mostly made of protein and minerals, bone is living, growing tissue. Throughout a person's lifetime, old bone is broken down (a process called resorption) and new bone is added to the skeleton (formation). When more bone is broken down than is added to the skeleton, bone loss occurs.
Bruce A Baethge, MD
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